by Shena Mackay
I don\’t know if I should really write anything about this book, I didn\’t really get it. Gathered more from the flyleaf text than from the narrative itself actually. In brief, it\’s about a woman who lives in a small English village where the people despise and persecute her. Apparently she was once a beautiful young woman and seduced by a painter, but it must have been a lengthy affair as she has several children by him. And it seems his wife later knew of her. And so did everyone else- and they left her and the children (her family all gone, a grandmother disappeared to Australia who was supposed to send money but died instead) to literally starve. Well, the man wanted to help her and give support, and other times she was offered charity or various forms of assistance, but bitterly refused. The only scenes in the novel that made sense to me were those depicting the suffering of this mother and her children- gleaning fields in winter for cabbages and turnips thrown to feed the livestock, stealing vegetables from gardens and fruit from orchards, gathering coal from the train tracks and cut wood from the forests, freezing and starving in spite of what little they could find. One village woman in particular has it out for this destitute mother and involves herself in deliberate cruelties, the least of which is spreading rumors, trying to get them evicted from their small crumbling derelict cottage. I did not finish the book but I surmise it does not end well. I did not understand the way these people treated each other, nor their relationships- it\’s a sparse book and failed to inspire me to read enough between the lines.
Has anyone else read this book…? What are your thoughts.
Abandoned 158 pages, 1967