Рregnant before marriage: Of which one speaks in the fifties only in a whisper. In order to escape the threat of social ostracism, Alison married the child’s father loved, even if love or at least passion had flared for a brief moment between them. They share no interests, and their personalities are diametrically opposed to each other as contrary poles, but who lack the mutual attraction. This marriage is a pragmatic matter; the parties submit to the course of events and thus avoid opposition.
Alison develops into type “Earth Mother”, wrapped in billowing Laura Ashley dresses, and she is a breeding machine. On their first and favorite Paul follow Gina (the difficult), Sandra (wearing fashionable), Roger (the Ambitious), Katie (the Simple) and Clare (the Portable).
The rich brood is Alison determination and right to exist. What greater happiness could expect from life as a “happy laughter”? On this “wonderful foundation,” she realizes further evidence of her certainty that fate means well with her, “a dear old dog … ovenproof ceramic Denby, a Moulinex, a fish-kettle and a set of Sabatier knives.
” . And of course Charles, her husband.
A little inherited wealth allows Charles to take an active role shortly after the wedding once he acquires the Victorian manor Allersmead with large garden. Here there is enough room for all children available, and Charles receives a study as a refuge; there, “he switched to the mode deaf ” and closes before the domestic chaos. For his world are the books. As a “polymath” he not only reads and forms in history, philosophy, sociology – “a bit of everything” – continued, but also publishes itself and thus deserves a little extra income.
If a problem occurs (Paul brings enough of it: drugs, alcohol, job change …), Charles holds discreetly. At worst enters Alison to her “strange place” and suggests gently, “we should make things sometimes discuss if there is a problem with the children.” Then Charles rejects her stoically, “I work … These things are governed quite sure of himself.”
The third member of the Allersmead adults who inaccessible in a foreclosed, the children Community live, Ingrid. She came as an au pair girl from Sweden and stayed forty years. But special feelings do not connect the children with her. “She was just there. Belonged to the furniture.”
As in spite of his hidden irony but homely title, this novel is not a militant plea but classic British understatement . None of the episodes is spectacular exciting; it rather responds “That’s life.” with an amused, understanding At school, the children are doing, “as they would not know”, in the home, however, they form a tight-knit community ( “mafia activities”). If they are unobserved, they play their “basement game”. Depending on their rank in the intra-family ausgefochtenen pecking order they take on roles may give orders and arrange nasty penalties or have to endure. Everyone knows such rituals, forbidden games and secrets from adults who help shape the development process of a child.
One of the children is a cuckoo and a “family secret.” From the middle of the novel, we suspect, to who it is and how it got into the nest. As might be expected, the adults find a nonchalant solution that anyone hurt, least of all the child in question. Penelope Lively’s “Family Album” is good, relaxing entertainment of the finer kind.