observations: A timely entry for two reasons: in theory this should be a good weekend for going to the beach, as regards weather – though the reality is somewhat different in the UK. The second is that Judi Dench is appearing on the London stage, alongside Ben Whishaw, in a play about the grown up originals of Peter Pan and Alice. (Mini review: interesting play, not as good as critics suggest, but worth it to see JD, and in particular her turning from an old lady to a young girl in the flick of her head.)
The book – featured before – takes the story of Lewis Carroll and the real Alice and turns it into fiction. Gaynor Arnold says ‘my made-up story of Daisy Baxter has ramifications that never, as far as I know, affected either the real-life Alice or those around her’, but as with all books based on real stories, there is a bit of discomfort here – though at least all the participants here are long-dead, unlike the characters appearing in Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife (another Alice).
Arnold’s earlier novel dealt with Charles Dickens: this one is equally well-written, convincing and engrossing, but in the end you are just waiting for something nasty to happen, the only question is exactly what. So though it is a good book, the Dickens one, Girl in a Blue Dress – containing only male oppression, a horrible picture of a marriage going wrong and a very unusual heroine – is better.
Links up with: Clothes for the beach feature in this entry, one of our favourite photos. Graham Greene’s Aunt was photographed at the beach. Another Victorian girl in Thursday's entry.
The picture above is a Kodak circular photo from the National Media Museum.