Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Reading Assignment: Elizabeth

Today's assignment is a book I've wanted to read for ages, mainly because a character in a Barbara Pym novel discusses having read it.  And then it was mentioned on Downton Abbey!  I am referring to Elizabeth and her German Garden written by Elizabeth von Arnim in 1898.  In this book, Elizabeth muses on her garden--attached to a medieval German abbey in which she lives with her husband, the "Man of Wrath" and her three "babies."  Sounds boring, but it isn't, I swear.

Elizabeth leads a fantastically privileged life--ironically refers to the servants as her "minions," has difficulties with her gardeners, who seem to have an inclination to either quit or go crazy--but you can't help liking this woman, who also wrote The Enchanted April, one of my favorite books, and an excellent movie besides.  Her nickname for her husband hints at marital problems (and difficult husbands are an issue in The Enchanted April as well).  The "Man of Wrath," at one point, argues at length in support of the legal classification of women, children, and idiots as one group.

There are  humorous conflicts with a governess, and an annoying art student who comes to stay for Christmas, but overall, this book is about the joys of solitude.


6 comments:

  1. I love this book and her writing style. I could never tell if the whole thing was tongue-in-cheek because her humor is so sly.

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  2. You had me at "Man of Wrath." Which has now become my new nickname for my husband. And minions! I need this book.

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  3. I will add this to my library list. Any book with crazy gardners is a book for me. Happy Friday, Patience!

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  4. Art students are always annoying.

    And often smelly.

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  5. Just popped over here from Green Girl's blog--and what fun. I need to jot down that book title and make sure I get the thing in my hands! Well recommended.

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  6. Oh, I love this book! I;ve read a few others by her also--one about dogs, I think.

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