Oct 05, 11
Read in September, 2011
I read this over the summer and in glancing back to try to recall why I liked it so much, I find myself rereading the whole thing. Vita Sackville-West's writing is elegant and effortless and this is apparently regarded as her best book. The story, that of an 88-year old woman widowed and delightedly doing things exactly the way she wants to for the first time in her life despite the incessant meddling of her six children (now in their 60s), is inspiring and elegaic. Of course the author's aristocratic worldview makes it hard for her to comprehend someone not having enough money to live simply and comfortably with no financial anxiety, but relieved of those pedestrian cares, Sackville-West, by way of her protagonist, writes cogently on the contradictions of an artistic calling of any sort versus a conventionally unexamined life.