Page 78 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 78

Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting PENELOPE MORTIMER
This is a book about a 1950s house- bound mother reluctantly (desperately) at home all day, in contrast to her daughter who has escaped to university. In Ruth Whiting’s commuter-belt village ‘the wives run their houses along the same lines, bring their children up in the same way; all drive cars, play bridge, own at least one valuable piece of jewellery and are moderately good- looking.’ Ruth, however, is on the verge of going mad; a ‘nervous breakdown’ would be a politer phrase, but really she is being driven mad by her life, her
‘Saraband’ 1956, designed by R McGowan for Edinburgh Weavers
Penelope Mortimer: ‘noticeable for her smouldering dark good looks and her penchant for wearing blue jeans and exotic black leather jackets, a cigarette dangling de rigeur from her lips’ (DNB).
plight made worse by everyone’s indifference to it. Daddy’s Gone A- Hunting is a profound study of female isolation, sociologically and historically acute. In the New Statesman in 1958 VS Naipaul called it a ‘beautifully written’ book with ‘an astringency that has been provoked by a deep compassion’ and The New Yorker said it was ‘terrifying, brutal and totally persuasive.’
 NO 77
264pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155677

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