October 30, 2007

Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader now available

Filed under: Uncategorized — ubikcan @ 6:39 am

Many people were interested in Alan Bennett’s short story The Uncommon Reader when it was published earlier this year in the London Review of Books.

Here’s how I described it last spring:

The story is about the Queen’s new found hobby of reading and some of the consequences it leads to. Her adviser Norman, or amenuensis as she soon learns to call him, is a young man who works in her kitchens. Since his tastes run to gay literature the Queen soon finds herself reading Genet and Proust, not to mention Virginia Woolf and Dickens, and she doesn’t seem to mind very much.

She does find however, that literature is disturbing because she no longer goes through life quite as smoothly as before. Tasks to which she devoted herself previously now seem to be draining:

It’s true that at the prospect of opening yet another swimming-baths her heart didn’t exactly leap up, but even so, she had never actually resented having to do it.

The good news is that this story is now available in novella form.


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