Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Review: Margaret Drabble Does it Best

by Eric Green

The Radiant Way, Margaret Drabble

Starting With One of Drabble's First Big Ones

My first Margaret Drabble book was, "The Red Queen." I was warned that this was not her typical book. That book was exceptional; and, after reading, "the Radiant Way" I can see the truth of that warning. The latter part of "The Red Queen" was more typical of her style.

The "Red Queen" book was written in 2004.

"The Radiant Way" was written over 20 years, 1987.

The book takes places in London and some smaller towns north of London. By reading this book, and probably the other Drabble books, you learn a lot about the socio-economic lives of everyday working people. The kinds of good they eat and how they live their lives.

The book has three close woman friends; Liz Headleand, Alix Bowen and Esther Breuer share their innermost life's experiences. These include their families and their work life experiences.

These three friends, in the 1980s, are in their fifties. I am not sure how usual it is for novelists to successfully write books about people, women, in that age bracket. But, the brilliance of her writing is without question.

Drabble has a long successful writing careers which doesn't show any signs of stopping.

Each and every person who is attached to these three women equals the character development for Liz, Alix and Esther. The drama of the novel keeps the reader looking for the next problem, escapade or human drama. Every spectrum of the human life experience is part of this book.

Miners Strike

A very unique feature of Drabble's book is the reporting of the historic British miner's strike. Drabble reports that strike in a matter of fact way. By doing that, her portrayal of the strike and the miners themselves was objectively positive. You'll get no trade union bashing from Drabble. One of her main characters, the husband of Esther, is a strong, left wing advocate. In this book he is always a sympathetic character.

I am looking forward to reading more novels by Drabble.