Guylain Vignolles is an unlikely central character in a book. He lives a reclusive life, with a job he hates and few friends. But he has one saving grace: he reads. Not only novels at home for pleasure, but aloud, without invitation on his morning train ride. This has gained him a small following, and along with his lunchtime friend’s habit of alexandrines, gives this lightweight novel an pleasantly pseudo-intellectual feel, perfect for Sunday morning reading.
He stumbles through life, guided by instincts and the colourful characters he finds himself alongside. There are a few bumps, and echoes of an earlier traumatic incident, but mostly he is just bumbling through life with Roger, his goldfish, for company. Until….
Of course a change has to be made for their to be any story to hand on Guylain, but his ordinary life is what makes this book so readable. Well worth a lazy morning with tea.
Penguin Classics should be sold at all railway stations, and this one came from Birmingham New Street Foyles. Just the right length for my return journey home and saved me from the bestseller list or a magazine.
Lady Susan is a wonderful anti-heroine. Defying social conventions, she is making her own way in the world and choosing her husband her own way. I love that she does find her own way, in spite of being so far from the ideal of Regency womanhood.
It is a classic epistolary novel, with the whole book (except for the conclusion) told in the form of letters between and from the main characters, the majority of which are of course ladies with time on their hands to exchange details of other people’s lives. So of course my quote is from a letter between two of the men…
I have at this moment recieved your Letter, which has given me more astonishment than I ever felt before.
But of course to reveal what gives such astonishment would remove all the fun. It remains only to say that Austen’s wit shines through and this is well-worth reading.
Eta: What do you know, I’ve read this before!