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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review - Monica Dickens's THURSDAY AFTERNOONS

The background to the story is an old one. Handsome, successful doctor and a spinsterish nurse madly in love with him, a wife on the side who has nothing in common with our doctor, and our nurse  fantasizing about various ways she could show her love for him, rescue him from dire situations and generally make him aware of her. He is blissfully unaware of her feelings other than the fact that her shoes squeak and that she is a bit of a nuisance.

The story is much more than this of course. The saga of a bored marriage, how the doctor just tolerates his wife - most of the time either being deaf to what she is saying, or pretending he is somewhere else, having a schedule that keeps him so busy that he has no time to think , getting involved with a pretty girl and hoping to balance the two separate lives are part of the story. His wife Ruth has just not kept pace with him, does not know how to cope with social situations and after the loss of their little daughter seems to have got more introverted than ever.

Given the author's background in nursing, there are details here that would not otherwise happen. It gives one an insight into the world of hospitals and nursing in the 1940's - the strict hierachy maintained in hospitals, for me,  almost like a caste system where each one was strictly allocated what one could/could not do even to what you could eat or drink! Nice to see how things have changed in the last sixty years, certainly for the better with nurses being given their due place in hospitals (my own daughter is a nurse!).

Monica Dickens's stories are generally light and funny - this is not one of those. The ending is a bit sad and a bit dramatic - a little too unbelievable but sad. I am reading more of this author.

I am leaving Colombo this afternoon for Rozella and will be away for about five days - sadly no internet at least the connection works for ten minutes and then its done. Just 72 miles from Colombo but almost another world - temperate climates, extremely green and very quiet.

These are the Devon falls just a couple of kilometres away from where I stay.


  1. This sounds like a very realistic read.

    Enjoy your break, it looks beautiful!

  2. I haven't read anything by Monica Dickens yet but do have Mariana on my shelf, so will be looking forward to reading it someday. Have you tried it? And enjoy your break!

  3. Looks like a beautiful place. Enjoy your time away!

    As for the book, I hadn't heard of it until your review. It sounds like a quiet character study.

  4. This sounds like a good book. Devon Falls looks beautiful. Have a good time.

  5. I love those old Penguin covers! Sounds like an interesting read.