Paperback review: The Small Hours, By Susie Boyt
Lessons for life at the nursery school of joy
Saturday 13 July 2013
Boyt’s Jamesian prose style is perfectly suited to this darkly comic tale of Harriet Mansfield, the disturbed young woman who, as a kind of reparation for her own childhood dominated by an abusive mother, opens a nursery school where children will only ever experience joy.
It reflects, in its paraphrases and sub-clauses, Harriet’s own self-doubt and suspicion of the world. But Boyt also satirises the contradictory figure of the middle-class, wealthy parent, caught between being too distant and being too needy. Harriet has been called “lovable” but she’s more dangerous than that, and this ambiguity is thoroughly welcome at a time when literary heroines are expected to be more sweet than sour.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
'Phallic symbols' found hidden in famous Pre-Raphaelite painting 'Isabella' by John Everett Millais
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Freddie Prinze Jr on 24: 'Kiefer Sutherland was the most unprofessional dude in the world – I hated every moment of it'
How did our legends really begin?
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
- < Previous
- Next >