Just read, Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann

I picked Dusty Answer up last summer in a great little antiquarian bookshop in Keswick, never having read any Rosamond Lehmann’s books but remembering her name from The Guardian’s 1000 novels list. While this book is not on the actual list (but three of her other novels are), I rather enjoyed reading it and getting lost in it. There is a great sense of dreaminess as the main character, Judith Earle comes of age and her relationships with those around her change. You are never told what Judith looks like, she is described through the reactions those around her have to her. Her own imagined conversations and situations are intertwined with real life and there is almost a sense of otherworldliness. IMG_0510The book was published in 1927 and could be considered quite feminist in that context, there are characters of ambiguous sexuality, quite obvious but only hinted at, like on the cover, which I thought was pretty perfect. It is a good read, I read half of it in one sitting yesterday afternoon, the deliberately slow tempo and Judith’s dream world draw you in so that the instances when she has important conversations stand out in a complete contrast. Perhaps not as fun as Nancy Mitford’s books or E.M. Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady but more subtle and rather good.


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