Time After Time Paperback
by Molly Keane
Part of the Virago Modern Classics series
Durraghglass is a beautiful mansion in Southern Ireland, now crumbling in neglect. The time is the present - a present that churns with the bizarre passions of its owners' past. The Swifts - three sisters of marked eccentricity, defiantly christened April, May and Baby June, and their only brother, one-eyed Jasper - have little in common, save vivid memories of darling Mummy, and a long lost youth peculiarly prone to acts of treachery.
Into their world comes Cousin Leda from Vienna, a visitor from the past, blind but beguiling - a thrilling guest. But within days, the lifestyle of the Swifts has been dramatically overturned - and desires, dormant for so long, flame fierce and bright as ever.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 272 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 01/06/2006
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781844083275
- EPUB from £4.99
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by Cariola
I'm not sure exactly what to make of this book, a rather dark comedy centered around decaying Irish gentility. The four elderly Swift siblings--Jasper and his fluffily named sisters, April, May, and June--live rather uncomfortably together, doomed by their domineering Mummy's will to share the decrepit family estate. Baiting one another seems to be their primary form of entertainment. Each has a particular handicap and a particular domain. Jasper, who lost an eye as a child due to Baby June's carelessness, rules in the kitchen and tends to his horticultural pursuits, often accompanied by Anselm, a lovely young monk. April, the only married Swift, now a widow, is deaf and spends her time coddling her dog and pursuing new health and beauty regimens. May, whose hand is deformed, presides over the local flower arranging club and restores Victorian doodads. And June, who didn't receive much of an education, lives for her smelly dog Tiny, her horse, and her pregnant pig. When their Jewish cousin Leda--who they thought had been killed in the Holocaust arrives on their doorstep, unexpectedly blind, the Swifts' world is thrown into chaos. Leda, it seems, is looking for a permanent residence; but she has revenge in mind.This is the first novel by Molly Keane that I've read, and I have several others on my shelves. I will surely give them a chance. Although I can't say that I loved <i>Time After Time</i>, it had it's moments and kept me interested overall.
Review by FleurinherWorld
In Time After Time Molly Keane extends an invitation to an Irish country house. It’s an invitation that I am very glad that I accepted.The house was once beautiful, but it has fallen upon hard times. The kitchen still offers a welcome, but the cooks and kitchen maids who brought it to life have long since departed, and even the Aga is losing the will to go on.The kitchen is Jasper’s domain. Well actually the whole house and estate is his, but he has to share it with his three elderly sisters. One widow and two spinsters, all left a right of residence by darling Mummie, whose wishes none of her children would ever question.He’s an aesthete and a dreamer, and he’s also bright enough to know that whoever rules the kitchen rules the house. Well they would if they didn’t have to contend with his sisters.April, the only one to have married, is now widowed, and in her mind that places her way above her siblings. But her husband is long gone and now her life centres around her clothes, her beauty treatments, and her home comforts…May’s life is filled with domestic arts. She is president of the Flower Arrangers’ Guild for year, she is a dab hand at making pictures from scraps of tweed, wool and sprigs of heather…And Baby June is the practical one, managing the farm, always outside, always with something important to do…Each of the Swifts has a cross to bear: Jasper lost an eye, April is stone deaf, May has a deformed hand, and Baby June, well Baby June is rather slow… And each of them tries to fill their lives with the important things they do, with possession, with the cats and dogs who are so cosseted in the absence of children. They live together, bickering like children because they are unhappy with their lives.The portraits that Molly Keane paints of the Swift siblings as they move through their lives are so rich, so vivid and so wonderfully detailed. Grotesques. Realism. Comedy. Tragedy. Only Molly Keane can balance all of those elements to such fine effect.I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to scream at them to admit that they were unhappy, that there lives didn’t have to be ruled by what their mother had thought in a different age, that they could change their lives. But I knew that they wouldn’t have listened, and that even if they had they wouldn’t have believed me.The pictures change when cousin Leda comes to visit. As a child she was that little bit different, and the Swifts didn’t know quite how to react. To pay court or to close ranks. And it is just the same now that Leda is a widow and has lost her sight. How like children they all are.Leda says things, does things, crosses lines that the Swifts never would. And of course there are consequences. When finally she leaves they realise that life will never be the same again.It’s still comic, it’s still tragic, it’s still grotesque, and it’s still real.Now that I have left too I miss the whole household. As is so often the case with Molly Keane’s creations, I really wouldn’t want to meet them but they are quite wonderful to observe.A wonderful entertainment!
Review by Staramber
A compelling story, unpredictable and odd with just as compelling, unpredictable and odd characters. We’re brought to the dyeing days of an Irish estate impossible to manage the past is very much in evident although never talked about. Everything from the family dynamics to Jasper’s wardrobe is set up by the long dead ‘Mummy’ and everyone knows about, but never speaks the word, holocaust. Hidden, successfully and not, are also the characters addictions, the maimed parts of their bodies and their sexuality. The characters have a repressed air about them but Keane never holds back. She treats the reader to sordid detail after sordid detail making the novel incredibly compelling and – although you may not want to admit it – darkly funny.