Friday, March 07, 2008
My father (who, on one memorable occasion, did dye his hair, to hilarious effect) was, as I might have remarked before, a man of simple tastes - but they were often also markedly contradictory. One of his two favourite novelists - the two he would read and reread endlessly - was Nevil Shute, a more than competent writer who celebrated the kind of quiet male virtues that are now quite out of fashion (though, in more exalted and subtle forms, they are central to Shirley Hazzard's work). His other favourite was, by way of contrast, Georgette Heyer, a 'woman's writer' if ever there was one. I thought she too, with her sub-Austen Regency romances, had been long forgotten - but no: the current Book At Bedtime on Radio 4 is her Arabella. It seems there's a bit of a Heyer revival going on - and we really shouldn't be surprised. With Austen mania at fever pitch, it's bound to spill over into sub-Austen, pseudo-Austen, post-Austen, meta-Austen and the rest, simply to meet demand. Heyer's efficient - and notably well researched - romances may lack all that makes Jane Austen great, but they have found their moment. Again.
Posted by Nige at 10:30 am