- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Moyer Bell and its subsidiaries; Reprint edition (Jan. 1 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1559211598
- ISBN-13: 978-1559211598
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #427,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Demon in the House Paperback – Jan 1 1995
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About the Author
Angela Thirkell was born in London in 1890. Mrs. Thirkell did not begin writing novels until her return to Britain in 1930; then, for the rest of her life, she produced a new book almost every year until her death in 1961.
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I don't think portraying children is one of Thirkell's strengths. Frank Gresham (in Miss Bunting) joins Tony Morland (in High Rising as well as this book) in being entirely unlike any child I have ever known. With a few exceptions (notably Agnes Graham, from Wild Strawberries and later books), most of the parents in Thirkell's books value escaping from their children far more than being with them (though they are portrayed as fond parents.) Perhaps the author herself avoided spending time with children?
For Thirkell at her best, try August Folly or Before Lunch. For a delightful portrayal of English children circa WWII, try Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet Chronicles (The Light Years, Marking Time, etc.) Howard is not as true to the time period as Thirkell, but the young children in the stories (Lydia and Neville) are thoroughly enjoyable.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
His doting widowed mother, Laura, was the focus of the first Barestshire novel, High Rising, which I thoroughly enjoyed. These novels need to be read in order, to follow what is going on in the neighborhood. I made a mistake and read this as the second novel instead of the third, and there were a few times that I knew I was missing information.
The Barsetshire novels are gentle and pleasant to read, and, while I've only read the two, this series is becoming a favorite.
Several sections of the story evoke with breath-taking clarity the mostly unruly but sometimes sublime passions of childhood--especially chapter 5, which is titled Paradise Pool because Tony discovers a particularly lovely view of the lake where a group of grown-ups and children have gathered to picnic and swim. The youngsters are full of high spirits, playing, squabbling loudly, and running off with each other’s toys, but then Tony and his mostly silent friend Donk climb down to muck around in a stream that’s below the level of the main body of water, and from that lower angle the lake looms like a magic pool suspended in midair, a vision that awes and moves them both and temporarily silences the almost pathologically loquacious Tony--it’s a lovely piece of writing.
Thirkell apparently didn’t think much of her own books. Like Tony’s mother she wrote because she needed to earn a living and didn’t expect or want her well educated friends to read her novels, but but for “fluff” her stories are witty and socially aware. Because they were written during the time when they're set, in this case the 1930’s, the stories also offer interesting and often unexpected (to me) insights about the daily life and attitudes of the era, including a few eyebrow-raising off-hand comments by characters that are offensive today.
Virago is re-releasing many of Thirkell’s novels, but so far not not this one, which means that most or all of the available copies are the Moyer Bell editions which do have some editing errors.