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Tony Grist

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Dear Brutus: J.M. Barrie [Dec. 21st, 2011|10:23 am]
Tony Grist
Just suppose you had a second chance in life, married X instead of Y, took job A instead of job B: would your life really turn out so differently? Would you have become a better person?

In Lob's midsummer wood a bunch of jaded middle-aged persons get the chance to go down the roads they didn't take- and experience what might have been. Dear Brutus is an unfamiliar play, so I'm not going to spoil it for you. Read it and find out what happens for yourselves. There is satire, there is social comedy, there is magic: if your scalp doesn't prickle and your eye fill with tears you're made of sterner stuff than I am. 

Up until now I had always stepped around Barrie. Carefully, fastidiously. I thought he had been found out and debunked- and one was absolved from reading him. You can see that attitude in what I wrote about Peter Pan a few days ago. I treated Barrie as belonging more to psychopathology than literature- a sentimentalist who got lucky just the one time-  when the creatures of his subconscious muscled their way through the spun-sugar artifice and briefly took charge. I take it all back. He was a genius. I have now read four plays and a novel and all of them are wonderful.  
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Comments:
From: loxian
2011-12-21 10:20 am (UTC)
Who wrote 'the water babies'? I've just had one of those weird mental flashes and i could see an old green hardback with that title, maybe saying 'Kingsley' underneath, and i can see a jigsaw which i knew was made up of scenes from the book... something to do with evil chimney sweeps? And then i thought of Peter Pan and you, which is why i'm asking you.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-21 12:50 pm (UTC)
Your memory is correct. The answer is Charles Kingsley- Victorian novelist, poet and muscular Christian. :)
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[User Picture]From: dadi
2011-12-21 12:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the tip! And with a few of his books/plays even free of charge for the download on Amazon, I know what I´ll read over the holidays :))
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-12-21 12:51 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome. There's lots of Barrie on the Web for free.
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[User Picture]From: ooxc
2011-12-23 11:04 pm (UTC)
love Dear Brutus, but not so eery and delicious as Mary Rose -
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