Honor Arundel Margery Fisher - Essay

Margery Fisher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

A family failing is social comedy, sophisticated and wise and touched with humour, stating its points with a certain detachment that makes them all the clearer. Although a girl of eighteen is in the centre of the story, [Honor Arundel] gives due prominence to the other characters. Joanna's parents are thrown into confusion by a sudden change of alignment. While Jonathan Douglas loses his job on a newspaper because he doesn't choose to adapt to its new popular style, his wife finds an outlet for her quick wits in a profitable television quiz game. The Women's Lib. situation is never over-stated but it is seen as clearly from the parents' point of view as from the standpoint of Joanna, who tells the story as a way of explaining the break-up of the family to herself. This is a very clear-eyed story, at times sardonic, completely without sentiment or evasion. It might, I suppose, bring consolation to other girls whose security at home is threatened by sudden change; it is far more likely to please as a brisk, stylish and perceptive novel with a topical but never obtrusive theme. (pp. 2064-65)

Margery Fisher, "A Time of Growing," in her Growing Point, Vol. 11, No. 6, December, 1972, pp. 2063-65.∗