Notes to my book club
Room with a view transported me immediately to my past. As a young and often muddled girl, not unlike Lucy Honeychurch, I was there. I think we must have studied it for English. It was like opening a bottle of perfume and being that age again. I also went to Italy with an embarrassing and uncouth cousin (who since became chair of Sheffields largest steel works) and no doubt expressed some of the narrow minded views so intelligently picked up and mirrored by the Emerson’s. Who I wish I’d have met! “I think that you are repeating what you have heard older people say. You are pretending to be touchy; but you are not really. Stop being so tiresome” I too found daily life rather chaotic. It was my first encounter with Baedeker.
After this unexpected and overwhelming sensation, I began listening to the words as a woman now of 64. I found it brilliantly written, with such understanding of human nature both within and outside of the dialogue. Surprisinly it does not age as we found Graham Greens work did.
Although it does hint at the more mystical darkness in passage to India, (a book also resonate with my childhood/adolescenc), it has a lightness of touch, and some very amusing moments “If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting both for us and for her.” Loved Simon Callow as the swimming reverend in the film I saw later.
The coda Room without a View, written in 1958, is complicated, with many twists. I cannot imagine George’s darkness easy to live with.