Susannah Clapp

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 174

[A Glorious Third] is a novel in which there is a lot of kindness but little room for sentiment; although the main issues are resolved, most predictable dramas are deflected; confronted with dilemmas—about their ages and the age—characters attempt debate before lapsing into turmoil. People do a lot of talking in Mrs Seton's novels and though their words are not always weighty they are always weighed, both by the speakers and by a watchful narrative. This makes for some pernickety prose, in which nothing is allowed to exist without its attendant wryness; it also makes for some good jokes and for a generously inclusive argument. In demonstrating that the "vistas of vulnerability" opened by the self-conscious 1960s are not the only available avenues of sensitivity the novel puts a lot of people on the spot; it also finally lets them off the hook.

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Susannah Clapp, in a review of "A Glorious Third," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1979; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 4002, November 30, 1979, p. 76.

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