Sunday, May 9, 2010

To Bed With Grand Music


To Bed With Grand Music by Marghanita Laski is not an easy book to review but I felt I just had to write this in time as Persephone Week ends today. I found this book compulsively readable but I completely disliked the main character of Deborah. Usually, it's hard for me to read a book with a character that's so unlikable but surprisingly enough I still found the book very engaging and I credit it all to Laski's brilliant writing.

The book is set during the second world war. Deborah has been left at home in the country with her young son while her husband is stationed in Cairo. Bored with her life at home, Deborah takes a job in London and starts to sleep around with men just for the fun of it. As time passes, she spends less and less time with her son and more time in London. Soon her standards are lowered and she sleeps with just about anyone for free dinner dates, presents and what-nots. She even goes so far as to sleep with a good friend of her husband who's back on leave....and just for him to buy her a bag! I found Deborah more repulsive as the book progressed and in a way I couldn't wait for it all to end. I'm glad I read it though and it was certainly an insightful read. I had no idea there was this whole sub-culture of women left behind during the second world war who indulged in such philandering. I guess Laski wanted to convey how war affected everyone. War can destroy not just the men who fight the battles but the women left behind.

7 comments:

  1. Great review and I'm nodding in agreement with all of your comments! I felt so much the same way.

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  2. Glad it wasn't just me who found this difficult to review! I sometimes love to read books that I hate the characters in (excluding Sons and Lovers and Mrs Morel, which I threw against a wall and wish it had been her); Persephone books are great for unlikable characters!

    The illumination about the sub-culture was fascinating and I am thankful for that education.

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  3. Have to admit that this one has me curious about the message being conveyed. Already on the (now very long) list of Persephones to be read. Nicely done for something difficult to review.

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  4. It's interesting how strongly people who have read this feel about Deborah - such dislike shows a brilliantly written book I think! I am really excited to read this but I have The Village to read first! Great review!

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  5. I feel so very much the same way! Just finished reading it and completely agree with everything you said. The character of Deborah being very unlikeable and still holding us in thrall and making the read enjoyable is testament to Laski's brilliant writing.

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  6. Great review for a book that was difficult to get through - from what you wrote I can understand why. Deborah sounds deplorable!! I must admit that my interest is piqued though and I'll be adding this one to my TBR list. Thanks!

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  7. Hi again after a long time! I have been swamped at work and now down with flu. This book might make one flinch while reading but how true..the war affected EVERYBODY...

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