Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Reading Assignment

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is one of my favorite books.  It contains all the essential elements:  British, gently funny, sometimes ludicrous, poignant, similar to Barbara Pym's novels.  It was written in 1971 by Elizabeth Taylor.  Mrs. Palfrey is an elderly widow who moves into a residential hotel in London.  She has an overbearing daughter who lives some distance away and a grandson in London who she hopes will visit her.  The other residents of the hotel are a nosy bunch, and in an attempt to fit in and impress them, Mrs. Palfrey tells them about her grandson, who never materializes.  But then she has an encounter with a random young man, Ludo.  They become friends and Mrs. Palfrey passes him off as her grandson to the hotel residents while also adjusting to the petty social hierarchy within the Claremont hotel. Therein lies the comedy of this book, which is essentially a sweet, funny, and sad novel about aging.

Right after I read it, the book came out as a movie starring Joan Plowright and the beautiful Rupert Friend.  It was astonishing that an obscure book that probably hadn't moved off my library shelf for years before I checked it out, was suddenly a major movie.  It's a very good movie.


  1. I love your Friday reading assignments, although I've yet to actually get around to reading any! You do inspire me though.

  2. Thanks Becky!

    Laoch, it is sad, but also funny.