Saturday, 27 July 2013

"The Towers of Trebizond" By Rose Macaulay

For a review of Rose Macaulay's own life, see the link to her biographer on Amazon, below.

Sarah LeFanu 

I usually read the reviews first if it's a book I'm unfamiliar with, to get a good overview.  Only three customers have reviewed this biography of Rose Macaulay.  The third review is by me.

"The Towers of Trebizond" is perhaps Rose's best-known book, and is famous for its opening line:

"Take my camel, dear," said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down form this animal on her return from High Mass.

I'd like to discuss the writing style.  I know it is supposed to be extremely dry and amusing, but really, you can go a bit far.

The second page is devoted to a lengthy, (maybe tongue-in-cheek), account of the Anglican family  history shared by the narrator and Aunt Dot.  It starts with the penal laws of Henry VIII and includes words like "disapprobation, Interregnum, schismatic, conventiclers, sacramental, and Tractarians".

Would this get past a publisher's reader today?

Yesterday I attended a local reading group in the library and we touched on grammatical errors.  The error of repetition was not among those mentioned.  I recall being taught at school that:

1. You should not link too many clauses with conjunctions like "and" or "but".

2.  It is bad form to repeat a word twice in close proximity.

On page 43, a seven line paragraph uses the word "and" fourteen times.

Is this creative rule-breaking?  Or taking the ****?