Friday, March 30, 2012
Review: The Weather in the Streets, by Rosamond Lehmann
Original date of publication: 1936
My edition: 1981 (Virago)
Why I decided to read: It’s on the list of VMCs
How I acquired my copy: Oxfam bookshop, York, UK, September 2011
The Weather in the Streets is the sequel to Invitation to the Waltz, set ten years afterwards. When her father becomes ill, Olivia Curtis returns home, having just been through a disastrous marriage. On the train ride, he runs into an old acquaintance: Rollo Spencer, a married man with whom she has an affair.
I wanted to like this book; I really did. I think the major problem I had with this novel was that I felt so detached from the story and characters. Olivia is a passive observer in the novel, not an active participant, so it was hard for me to really get involved in her story. The thing that threw me off the most was the shift from third person to first person; it’s used intermittently for the first hundred pages or so and in earnest as soon as Olivia’s affair starts. Therefore, I saw the story from the outside rather than from Olivia’s point of view.
Rosamond Lehmann is good at constructing the details of the story, but I really found myself disliking Olivia as a person. Again, I wish I’d liked this book much more than I did!