Monday, April 30, 2012

Five best novels on women in search of themselves

Anna Quindlen's most recent book is Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir.

For the Wall Street Journal she named a five best list of novels about women in search of themselves, including:
The Pursuit of Love
by Nancy Mitford (1945)

It's inevitable that there will be a sharp division of opinion about a novel with the sentence, "My uncle Matthew had four magnificent bloodhounds, with which he used to hunt his children." Thus it is with Nancy Mitford: Serious people get a pinched look at the notion that her work is worth reading. They're wrong. Mitford's portrait of a chaotic family and the unformed young woman at its center is an indelible story. Linda Radlett first marries a pompous conservative MP, then a handsome communist who "only cares for ideas." But it is an accidental meeting with a French duke that brings her to life. Biography has always overshadowed this book; Nancy was the eldest of the now-mythic Mitford sisters, who have become the literati equivalent of the Kennedy family. And the Radlett family is the Mitfords down to the ground, including the child hunts. But this is a witty, always knowing novel about sleepwalking through life and then coming awake, with an arch, airy tone ultimately belied by the reader's tendency to burst into tears in its final pages.
Read about another novel on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue