Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Reading Assignment: After Julius

I am reading through all of Elizabeth Jane Howard's books, and you will just have to bear with me.  From this exercise I'm learning that I really, really love Elizabeth Jane Howard's writing.  She has joined Barbara Pym, Jane Austen, and Anthony Trollope as one of my favorite authors, whose books I will turn to again and again.

After Julius is about a small family of women: Esme, the mother, and Cressida and Emma, the daughters.  Julius, Esme's husband and the father of Cressy and Emma died twenty years earlier while assisting the evacuation of Dunkirk.  The whole story takes place over the course of one country house weekend, to which Emma invites a penniless poet she just met, Esme's former lover comes to stay, and Esme unwittingly invites Cressida's lover and his wife for dinner.  Which sets the scene for more than enough drama for a novel.

I'm pretty sure that After Julius was the novel that EJH wrote while on vacation in Spain with Kingsley Amis, and that she and he occasionally traded typewriters and wrote a few passages in each other's books.  There are a few passages in After Julius that have Amis' tone.

Speaking of Kingsley Amis, Jen recently lent me the Town & Country's issue  with Martin Amis' reminiscences of growing up with Elizabeth Jane Howard as his stepmother.  Very interesting reading.

1 comment:

  1. I finished "Confusion" two nights ago and can't wait to get my hands on the next installment of the Cazalets. That woman has a gift for character development.