|The Towers Of Trebizond: Rose Macaulay
||[Nov. 3rd, 2010|06:07 pm]
When I was at theological college we took a retreat en masse at Walsingham- and because it was a silent retreat we had a book read to us at mealtimes. The book that was chosen- and read with great expression and comic timing- by our chaplain- John Armson- was The Towers of Trebizond. It was the funniest thing I'd ever heard- funnier than Tony Hancock, funnier than Round the Horne, funnier than Songs For Swinging Sellers.|
It presents as rambling and effortless and naive, but, of course, you can only achieve that effect through art and experience. Picasso said he'd spent a lifetime learning to paint like a child, and Macaulay might have said she'd spent a lifetime learning to write like an artless young woman. It's an extraordinarily vivacious book to have been written by a person in their seventies.
It is also terribly sad. To be funny and sad at the same time- in the same voice- is something only the very best writers can do.