Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
The cover of this book provides all the clues we need to anticipate an enjoyable read. There is the familiar profile of the Queen from the coins of the realm, and a hand holding an open book. Alan Bennett - the name's familiar - The History Boys, The Lady in the Van, The Madness of King George. Now I know - an astute observer of people, a wit, where's that book again?
So here is the Queen, a dutiful Queen who has served her country for years who suddenly gets the reading bug. Her courtiers notice, Her new Prime Minister is subjected to a barrage of books he should read. Can the country and the Commonwealth survive this new personage? Maybe some quick political intriguing? Ah but the Queen is an old hand at this and she has the final say on appointments.
Her Majesty's devoted servants compare notes on Madam's interactions with her subjects. '" What are you reading?" I mean, what sort of question is that? Most people, poor dears, aren't reading anything. Except if they say that, Madam roots in her handbag, Fishes out some volume she's just finished and makes them a present of it." "Which they promptly sell on eBay."
A gem of a book for Anglophiles and even commoners.
PS Lauretta says the ending is cheeky.