Highland Fling [ePub]

by Nancy Mitford

If I'd never read any of Nancy Mitford's other novels, then reading this, her first novel, wouldn't have encouraged me to do so. Not that it doesn't have its good points. For example, you can't fault Mitford for writing what she knew about; that is, the lifestyle of the English upper class and the goings on of Bright Young Things in the 1920s.And the novel has some genuinely funny moments, such as a description of proceedings in the House of Lords. But overall, the characters are superficial, the action dull and the writing pedestrian. It reads like a story written by an enthusiastic school girl with rather less writing talent that she thought she had. I finished it because that's what I do, but it was hard to whip up much interest in either the Bright Young Things or the Dull Old Things who populate the novel.

However, for all I'm underwhelmed by Mitford's first attempt at a novel, I'm glad that she continued to write. I very much enjoyed The Pursuit of Love when I read it a few months ago and I seem to recall reading and loving Love in a Cold Climate when I was in my teens. In any event, I plan to read more of her work and, at some point, a Mitford biography. This book, though, I won't be reading again.

That said, I may remember more about it than I really want to. A scene towards the end comes to mind in that regard. A trio of young men in disguise appear at the door of one of the main characters. They're going to see a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Why the disguise? As one of the young men says:
It is one thing to see a Gilbert and Sullivan, and quite another to be seen at one. We have our unborn children to consider, not to mention our careers.
The scene made me chuckle, but as I've generally enjoyed the G&S I've seen, I clearly would have been a failure as a 1920s Bright Young Thing.



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