Honor Arundel Margery Fisher - Essay

Margery Fisher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Honor Arundel's neat patterns of family life are coolly perceptive and make their point by indicating emotion rather than rousing it. She makes no pretence of joining the young. She is looking at them, with a good deal of understanding, and inviting them to take a dispassionate look at themselves. Her gift for fixing character through class idiom and class behaviour is seen at its best in [The girl in the opposite bed], in which Jane from a protected middle-class home and Jeannie from the other side of the sticks meet willy-nilly in a hospital ward…. Neither girl is 'changed' by the week or two they spend in opposite beds. Honor Arundel is too wise to suggest anything so unlikely. She allows Jane the amount of sense and sympathy one might expect her to feel; she suggests (only suggests) that the death of dear old Mrs. Wood has helped the girl to be less self-absorbed. Then she sends her back to her comfortable home with a slightly better chance of employing her intelligence outside the school library. This is an interesting book, making its effect unobtrusively. Young people reading it won't be startled or stretched but they may well say with some surprise "Yes, it is like that." (pp. 1502-03)

Margery Fisher, "Level Pegging with the Young," in her Growing Point, Vol. 8, No. 9, April, 1970, pp. 1502-04.