Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Happy Prisoner

You may have gathered that I love Monica Dickens’ writing! So, here is a review of the latest one I have read. I took The Happy Prisoner on our trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have an old penguin copy that I picked up at a second hand bookshop.

The Happy Prisoner is set at the close of WW2 and is taken from the point of view of Oliver. Oliver is a former soldier confined to bed; having had his leg amputated following an injury suffered in France. He observes his family’s antics from there. The characters are classics! His sister Vi is a tomboy, incapable of elegance – the family is horrified when she decides to marry Fred Williams, their tenant farmer. Heather, the other sister, is dissatisfied with life. Even the return of her husband John from a Japanese POW camp doesn’t cheer her up. Mrs North, their mother, just tries to keep the peace.

Another favourite character for me was Muffet, John’s mother, who comes to stay while her apartment is renovated. She is a kleptomaniac who steals particularly enthusiastically from those she doesn’t like!

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