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Posted 20 hours ago

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Now I have reread it thirty years later and am still enchanted by the study of a family stripped bare of their values by the honesty of their Victorian mother/grandmother/ great grandmothers review of a life well lived but based on a contractual lie that undermines the whole of Lady Slanes life. You would need to give full and clear credit to “Karen Heenan-Davies, Book Talk” with links to the original content.

Its major theme is that of gaining control over one’s own life, and it also addresses the constrictions of class and gender. An unusual piece of literary fiction about an elderly woman’s examination of her life, and her subsequent emancipation from the expectations of others. I have read Portrait of a marriage – back in the 1970s when I read quite a bit ABOUT the Bloomsbury Group – but I haven’t read any of Sackville-West’s novels. Three elderly men find their way into her life and add richness and a strange variety to her waning days. First she defies the patronizing meddling of her children and escapes to a rented house in Hampstead.

The novel addresses people's, especially women's, control of their own lives, a subject about which Sackville-West was greatly concerned although often pointing out that she did not consider herself a feminist.

To this place of retirement her own children might come occasionally, but no grandchildren, and certainly not the great-grandchildren. Told through the eyes of an octogenarian recently emancipated by widowhood as she delves into her bittersweet memories. Above all I adored the refreshing depiction of an elderly lady who delights in her new found independence. Her husband having just passed away, she’s already well into in her eighties but determined to live out her remaining days to their fullest.

She moves to Hampstead, regarded by her children as an outpost of London, and even more shocking, she takes the Tube.

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