Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor


I'm not a great fan of tragi-comedy - there's nothing very funny about tragedy. But this rather wonderful story succeeds in being both wry and devastating in its dissection of old age - its loneliness, its small joys, its humour, its social embarrassments - and that in fact, this is the stuff of life at any age. Some say it's depressing, but the complexity of character and plot in such a short novel, combined with the beauty of its writing and power of its final pages, rather makes it oddly uplifting, the sort of book that sticks in your mind.
NB: Oddly, I wasn't too impressed by another of Taylor's novels, 'A Game of Hide and Seek'.

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