Monday, January 12, 2009
ELIZABETH JANE HOWARD REIGNS
Following Michele Hewitson's wonderful interview with this aclaimed veteran British author, which I featured on the blog back in December, I knew I just had to read both Howard's autobiography, SLIPSTREAM and her latest novel, LOVE ALL.
I am not a great reader of biography although I do make exceptions for literary figures and I must say I found Elizabeth Jane Howard's autobiography a splendid read. Rarely does one find a writer willing to be so frank about every aspect of their lives. Totally honest and upfront her candour is quite remarkable, at times even startling. Having met, and disliked, Kingsley Amis on one occasion at a Penguin Sales Conference dinner, I found her account of their 15 years together especially interesting.
LOVE ALL is Howard's 14th novel, her first novel, The Beautiful Visit, was published way back in 1950.
I guess I would have to say that this is a novel particularly for women readers. Am I allowed to say that?
It is about gardens and cats, and love and love's absence, not an especially joyful book, bleak even in parts, but as with all her writing it is superbly crafted.