Mamma was fast asleep at home, her spirit lapped in unconsciousness.
Her dreams would not divine that her daughter had stolen out to meet a lover. And next door also they slept unawares, while one of them broke from the circle and came alone to clasp a stranger ...' Judith Earle, over-earnest and inexperienced, has always been a little in love with each of the four cousins who come to stay next door and, on her return from Cambridge, becomes madly in love with one of them - Roddy, the 'sensation-hunter'.
DUSTY ANSWER traces with delicate nostalgia childhood friendships and the pangs of thwarted young love.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 02/03/2006
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781844082940
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by MariaAlhambra
An excellent coming-of-age story, centred on a young and solitary girl's fascination with the family next door, the Fyfes. The free indirect speech allows the reader to follow the web of daydreaming, enchantment and self deceit the heroine spins for herself, while Lehmann subtly allows us to see glimpses of the the different members of the family outside Judith's glamourising. The mood of charm and disappointment continues in the middle section, based on a women's college in Cambridge, in which the heroine is unable to act on her feelings for a fellow female student. The book somehow collapses at the end, when Lehmann resorts to confessional letters to shed light on other people's feelings (a convenient,easy narrative trick). It is nonetheless a great achievement, the descriptions of nature are very skillful, with a delightful water/swimming/picnic theme running throughout the book.
Review by FemmeNoiresque
I hate to be a downer, as my first Lehmann book, I found Dustry Answer to be unremittingly bleak. The heroine's isolation was reinforced throughout the text, until the last pages of the books when the reader's discover how small and insignificant her existence was to those who filled her thoughts.Not recommended for those going through an existentially dark period.