I was looking through my TBR book for something which was not over 300 odd pages long. I was a bit tired of the 600 page chunksters I had and did want something I could read easily.
Margaret Drabble was not an easy read. The author is very detailed and descriptive and you have to follow the story carefully in case you miss out some obscure detail that will definitely crop up later and will be crucial to the follow up at that point.
The story starts on New Years Eve 1979 with a complacent Liz with her husband Charles throwing a posh party for a Who's Who in London. All sectors of society seem to be well represented from the gentry to the hoi polloi and Liz is happy with her choices. This part of the story gives you a feeling of something going to happen and happen it does. Liz is shaken out of her feelings of complacency by her husband declaring his intentions of getting a divorce. And marrying the Lady Henrietta.
We then move on to Esther and Alix and Liz close friends since Cambridge days. The story though it starts in detail about Liz is about all three friends and their life after this New Years Eve do. Alix teaches at a psychiatric institution whilst Esther is an art historian.
With the break up of Liz and Charles's marriage, Liz has to find herself a new home which is her main concern and Alix and Esther feel that it is their duty to support Liz during this time.
The title itself piqued my interest because this was a standard English teaching primer for the lower grades in Sri Lanka and one I used myself. I finally found that this is the reference used in the book itself which was unusual. The story set during a period of vast social changes in Britain involving three women of a more privileged class makes for an interesting read.
Not a very light read but it was different.