Ann-Marie's Reviews > Miss Buncle's Book

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
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Jan 06, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites
Read in December, 2008

While recovering from a stomach virus the Tuesday after Christmas, I read Miss Buncle’s Book, by D. E. Stevenson (a cousin of RLS). It’s set during the 1930s, in an English village, where Barbara Buncle, spinster, is barely eking out a living on the remains of a private income. (The global economic depression of the 1930s is never mentioned directly, but its consequences are felt throughout.) Ruling out hens or boarders, she decides to try earning an income by writing a novel, which winds up being a thinly veiled account of the lives and loves of her neighbors. Uproar ensues when the book becomes a smash bestseller and the villagers discover themselves perfectly limned (or neatly skewered?—nobody can tell which) within its pages. Nobody suspects Miss Buncle of being the authoress, of course, because she is meek and frumpy. At her publisher’s insistence, she goes on to write a sequel, so the novel (by Stevenson, a woman) turns out to be about a woman who writes a novel about a woman who writes a novel—a sort of literary kaleidoscope, and a neat trick. In addition, the story can be enjoyed as a satire on human communal life, an insider’s take on what it is to be a writer, and a middle-aged Cinderella’s story. I loved it on all counts.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Hol (new) - added it

Hol This all sounds fabulous (except the nonfiction note about the stomach flu, of course). I will endeavor to get my hands on it!


Ann-Marie Hol wrote: "This all sounds fabulous (except the nonfiction note about the stomach flu, of course). I will endeavor to get my hands on it!"

You can borrow mine, silly. As soon as my Arabic project is done (2/1) I'm calling you up to plan a visit, and I'll bring the book with me.



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