Wickham scores again...this time with a fun, highly biting commentary on the social strata in England. Not unlike my favorite author Edith Wharton (who wrote about society in early 1900s New York), Wickham here uses her fine writing skills to make sweeping and also pointed gestures about the differences and familiarities between the middle and upper classes. Not that I would compare Wickham's writing or plots to Wharton, but Wickham's finger is definitely on the pulse of what makes society both tick and falter here. The story takes us to a fine manor house in English Countryside (but not far enough out maybe). Caroline and Patrick, the manor house, nouveau riche owners, invite several couples over for a weekend-long tennis party, including a stuffy man and his new rich wife and then former neighbors from their old "poorer" neighborhood out on the outskirts of London. What transpires is funny, sad but most of all a I'm sure pseudo-realistic view of what goes on behind closed doors of those large stately homes. LOTS of fun to read and educational as well for those interesting in climbing to social ladder!
One of the better novels I have read in a while...this one makes you laugh, cry and long for your friends. Rayner, a Brit, weaves a compelling tale filled with sudden loss, friendship, gradual loss, sexual identity and all sorts of relationships. The main characters are the storytellers here...Karen who experiences sudden loss right at the beginning of the book, Anna, who is Karen's friend and is in the midst of a doomed relationship with a man with dependency problems, and Lou who enters Karen and Anna's lives through sad happenstance and who is dealing with her own private identity battles. All of these characters on their own would make compelling fiction, but all three of them create a vivid and dynamic tale that not only holds the reader's interest, but inspires them as well. An excellent novel!