Two consecutive reviews today….
THE TALKING TREES by Sean O’Faolain
A wild version of adolescent boys from the Red Abbey school who are ever on about girls and pink porpoises and sexy notions, and a girl posing in gym knickers accompanied by whose violin music? — Haydn and Seek … and a paraphernalia of a sense of something like guilt or parental influence, and sweet shops or secreting sweets for oneself instead of a gang bang? A sort of post-Just-William and his Outlaws, but with raging puberty…
Mad and manic, and it is quite unbelievable that a story like this actually existed!
I myself never got to enter the talking trees but got happily married instead.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM: Winter Cruise
“She was only very slightly disconcerted when she found that Madame Bollin was coal-black. She told herself that one had to accept the rough with the smooth and that it takes all sorts to make a world.”
I do not quite understand the significance of that as Mme Bollin never appears in the story. The story of the only woman on board a ship, and that is Venetia (née Alice) Reid, virgin spinster, and travelling cheap on this German freight ship to cruise around Haiti to see interesting places, but she has somehow a rapprochement with a pure Aryan radio-operator on board so as to cure her propensity to be insufferably boring to the Wagner-singing Captain, and to the ship’s doctor and to the other crew, No plot spoilers, merely my innuendo as to the then mœurs of race and of gender and of the writing of pointless if mildly entertaining stories such as this one.
A momentary editorial slip-up in this otherwise inspiring anthology?
My reviews of what I consider to be Somerset Maugham’s much greater stories: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/01/18/short-stories-somerset-maugham/
Contexts of these reviews: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/26609-2/ and https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/05/09/penguin-modern-stories/
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