Friday, January 15, 2010

Fiction Friday: Barsetshire Edition

Warning: This post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for literary discussions about obscure authors. Proceed at your own risk.

In the comment section to my comb-o-phobia post (Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Or, you could just read the post, and then you’ll understand what I’m talking about…), I referred to Angela Thirkell’s charming Barsetshire novels.

Specifically, I noted that in "Marling Hall", an old governess amuses her new charges with stories about one David Leslie, who used to - gasp! - cut the teeth off his comb (brush?) so he wouldn't have to comb his hair.

Since I wasn’t sure if it was a brush or a comb but didn’t have the book in front of me, I decided to do a quick search – to no avail. (“I’ll tell you what,” as Lucy Marling would say. Please leave a comment with the correct answer, if you have access to the book yourself.)

However, I did come across the Angela Thirkell Society’s site, which contains, inter alia (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase. Hopefully, I did so correctly… :-)), companions to many of the books and a very useful “dictionary” of all the characters.

Angela Thirkell fans should definitely check this site out.

And if you’re not yet an Angela Thirkell fan but happen to enjoy pure escapist reading – amusing storylines, delightful characters, entertaining prose, and, most importantly, happy endings – I highly recommend the Barsetshire novels.

Happy reading!

שבת שלום ומבורך!


  1. If Angela Thirkell has a fan page and you are one of her fans, I'll give one of her books a whirl sometime.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. (ps now I'll spellcheck)
    I'm rather embarrassed considering my lowly literary level, especially considering that d3 got all sorts of academic honors in Bar Ilan. Would you believe 2 rectors prizes and their begging her to do a doctorate and being disappointed that she only did a masters?

  4. I checked on my literature mailing list and 2 people think it was a brush.

  5. Leora - If you do, I'd love to hear what you think about them.

    Batya - May you continue to have much nachat from your daughter and all your children and grandchildren!

    Keren - Thanks! That's great!

  6. I have never even heard of this author. i'll have to check the website. thanks for increasing my knowledge.

  7. Ilana-Davita - Although the books make for a light, enjoyable read, they're also interesting from a historical perspective. Thirkell wrote them in England during the 1930's-1950's about her own time. Several of them were published during WWII and give a "real time" picture - albeit a romanticized one (which ignores the Holocaust) - of life in England during that time.


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