Friday, October 2, 2015

Millstone / Margaret Drabble 192 pp.

Written over 30 years before the lovely The Witch of Exmoor, this is a much less polished work but still interesting.  Rosamund, a well-educated young woman with a smart set of friends, has a secret: she's a virgin, and feels embarrassed that despite her many boyfriends she can't bridge this gap of intimacy with anyone.  She alternates her vigorous social life with hard academic work and plenty of musing about her upbringing and how it's made her who she is: a good person, possibly incapable of love.

I love Drabble's preoccupation with matters of class, environment, and social justice.  She is almost analytical, but without apology, and her stories are surprising.  When Rosamund ceases to be a virgin and the obvious result ensues, nothing about the arc of the story quite follows convention.  Sweet and sad.

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