Sunday, 5 June 2011

Is it just me... (with spoilers!)

Or is the ending to Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate incredibly strange?

She's going along, writing this book with characters who eventually grow on me as a reader, and I'm listening to the narrator (Fanny) and growing very attached to her, and hating Lady Montdore as well I should, and wishing I had a pair of goggles like Cedric's and then suddenly, WHAM. Two of the male characters run off to be a happy little couple together in France, along with the heroine's mother, and the heroine hooks up with a Duke character who has conveniently appeared in the last two or three chapters. And it all happens in about a sentence.

Me: Wait, what? *Reads the paragraph again* Yep. That just happened.

I'm going to put my reaction down to a few points. Number one, according to reference site of all reference sites, Wikipedia, Boy Dougdale is sexually ambiguous.

Sexually ambiguous??? The man has slept with everyone. He's slept with his wife's sister in law. He's slept with and married his niece. He hits on underage girls. The only thing that I can think of that might make him sexually ambiguous is the fact that he sews. Excuse me for living in 2011, but I think it is neither relevant to a person's sexuality, nor deplorable for a man to sew. In fact, I think it's pretty neat. But I guess in 1949, it could be called queer.

Number two: I've realised that perhaps Love in a Cold Climate is one of those rare elusive classics that has managed to make it into popular accord without necessarily having a plot. If there is a plot, it is certainly not conventional. What drives the book is its superb supporting characters. The book should be all about Lady Montdore, not her boring, surly daughter.

If anyone else has read it, I'd love to know if you agree with me.

Does it seem like Nancy Mitford suddenly got bored of her book and just tried to end it?

Perhaps it IS just me. Perhaps I can't appreciate the finer delicacies of the English wit.

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