Lady on the Burning Deck

Lady on the Burning Deck

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The narrator of this comedy is Frances, a widow and mother of two grown children. The author portrays Frances' entanglements in the affairs of the young, and her consequent reappraisals and coming to terms with herself. Catherine Heath's novel, "Behaving Badly" was filmed as a television more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 129 x 197mm | 250g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0749000090
  • 9780749000097

Review Text

Through delightfully acidulous snipes at the appalling ways of middle-class young people, Heath adds another whimper to the continuing plaint by British writers of a certain age, who wonder where all the "normal" values have gone. Frances, a widow, is now a live-in caretaker of that handsomely preserved oasis, the London house of Matthew Berwick, a 19th-century literary light; and her tedious but pleasantly reliable lover, Nathaniel, is Chairman of the Berwick Society. But more to the point, Frances has two dear girlhood friends and, all told, the three have produced six bewildering children. Ruth, wife of horrid Guy, is mother of Louisa (from her first marriage), who yoga's on Social Security; and Julian, who plays a guitar and sings by the subway "in the most extraordinary accent." Jenny's kids are skin-mag model Jennifer, who "has the most photographed buttocks in Britain," and Roger, who has Come Out. And Frances' two? Well, Jonathan's into "squatting" in uninhabited buildings to protest inadequate housing for the poor. And daughter Caroline, doing fine for a while in art school, runs off with her married lover, whose very pregnant, dim, young wife is left behind - so morality-hounded Frances takes her in. Along the way, the sons' movement chums take over landmarks, including the Berwick house, and Frances, who will not leave the undoubtedly doomed ship, finds herself cooking meals for 19 slovenly sit-ins. And on and on, with even Frances giving in to the times: when Guy dies and Ruth marries Nathaniel, Frances will go on meeting her lover. "Is there anyone left, anyone at all, who thinks the rules of childhood still hold?" The message is genuine, but it's rather muffled here by all the dizzy - and funny - goings-on. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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