14 Jan 2009 – Red Cross charity shop

Virago Modern Classic No 5

I’m glad I’m not trying to collect all the VMCs as, although there are some I love, cherish and keep, I wouldn’t re-read all of them, and that’s my criterion for keeping a book as opposed to giving it away.

This is a slightly confused and confusing tale of Teresa, a passionate and unusual girl in 1930s poor suburban Australia, who yearns to be free, to practice free love and to study, in Europe if possible.  She forms an unfortunate attachment to her Latin tutor, Jonathan Crow, and aims to follow him to England, starving herself of beauty, love and food in the effort to do so.  

Set in Australia and England, this is reminiscent in the first half of a VMC called "Cindie" that I read a few months ago, and in the second half, of Patrick Hamilton’s "Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky" trilogy.  London is the London of my time there – Bloomsbury, Fleet Street, and interesting for that.  Jonathan’s theories are expounded in the first half to be destroyed in the second, and it is packed full of theory and feeling, which doesn’t always make for an easy or coherent read.

Interesting, as much for the historical descriptions as the story.