Skip to main content

Review: Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson


Miss Buncle is a pretty average, middle age woman living in an English country village. One day, she decides to write a novel about Silverstream, the village she lives in. The books is published, and instantly becomes a bestseller—with adverse effects in Silverstream, for its inhabitants are furious that someone has dared to write about—caricature—their lives.

This is an extremely funny book, poking fun at the provincialism of the average English country village in the 1930s. The characters are a howl: Mrs. Featherstone Hogg, who of all the inhabitants of the village is the most enraged; Mr. Hathaway the vicar; Mrs. Greensleeves, the widow who only chases after the vicar because she thinks he has money; Miss King and Miss Pretty; Colonel Weatherhead, the town’s confirmed bachelor; and others, including Doctor Walker and his wife, and Sally Carter, who seem to be the only people not offended by Disturber of the Peace (sounds like the title of a mystery, but no matter). Miss Buncle’s descriptions of her characters are somewhat cruel, but truthful nonetheless. This novel is hysterically funny as well—I had stitches in my side by the time I got to the description of the film that Mr. Abbott and Miss Buncle go to see.

It’s claimed over and over again that Miss Buncle is a simple creature; but maybe she really does know what she’s doing all along? I think she’s a lot smarter than a lot of people, including Miss Buncle herself, give her credit for. As events unfold, and life imitates art, so to speak, it becomes clear that truth really is stranger than fiction.

This is Persephone #81 (endpaper below)

Comments

Helena said…
Sounds good! The last novel I read about someone who causes a stir by writing a book about their home town was Return to Peyton Place, which was good, but rather different to how this sounds.

I've just posted about Persephone #85 and #86 - two favourite books I had no idea they were reprinting until recently.

Helena aka Miss Moppet

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…