Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Very enjoyable, as with all Smith's work ... I've realized the reason I like him is he's a bit akin to Jane Austen ... and this book has some of her impulse ... with her "three or four families in a country village" in England. This (Smith's) novel is a small window, with a few characters, to provide a view of what life in the country was like during WWII, when foxes were making their way into henhouses against all efforts to stymie them with slats of wood, and when a Polish airman refuge might really be a German, but he played the flute beautifully. The one peculiarity with this book, and it's not a gripe, really, is that the first 253 pages carefully and delicately represents a short period of time--five or six years, during which La leaves London, moves to the country, plants her vegetables, begins her orchestra, and the war ends. Then in the remaining 40 pages, La goes from 34 years old in 1945 to 50 years old in 1961, with the only consistency being the two times she sees Feliks (the Polish refugee with whom she'd fallen in love). But the book charms.

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