audrey_e (audrey_e) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

29 In a Summer Season

Originally posted by audrey_e at 29 In a Summer Season
29 IN A SUMMER SEASON Elizabeth Taylor (England, 1961)


Kate is married to an attractive man who is ten years her junior and struggle with his inability to sustain a job and the necessity to live off his wife's money.

I heard of Elizabeth Taylor for the first time when I watched Francois Ozon's movie Angel, an adaptation of her novel of the same title. In a Summer Season is the first novel I read by her, and I can already tell she's one of those sadly underrated writers.
Elizabeth Taylor is in many ways a 20th Century Jane Austen. While the humor and sarcasms that was so essential to the latter's work is mostly absent in In a Summer Season, the reflection on women's status within marital relationships is just as sharp, and so is the constant search for a balance between love and reason. But Taylor is never a preacher of morals the way her predecessor occasionally was due to the times in which she wrote. Taylor consistently demonstrates a deep compassion for her characters despite the mistakes they make, and certainly never judges them on moral grounds.
Beyond the obvious Jane Austen comparison, Taylor's style and concerns are very close to Rosamond Lehmann's; by whom I've so far only read The Echoing Grove. In this novel, Lehmann failed to introduce her reflections regarding life and love in a realistic manner, as the dialogues always seemed too dense and complex for me to believe that they could possibly take place in "real life". But where Lehmann failed, Taylor succeeds.  No matter how deep her analysis (or the character's) of the situation is, it is always seamlessly integrated to the narration. This is certainly the mark of a great writer.
My only criticism goes to the ending, which I found a little too contrived, the rest of the novel being practically flawless.


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