15 Dec 2011

SMUT: TWO UNSEEMLY STORIES.

BAH-HUMBUG!!!!! Getting away from all of those festive posts that have been appearing on Pen and Paper lately, today I thought I'd bring you a book review.

SMUT: TWO UNSEEMLY STORIES by ALAN BENNETT.

Both 'unseemly stories' in Smut concern women in middle life: Mrs Donaldson, whom sex takes by surprise, and Mrs Forbes, who is not surprised at all.
....... Inner front cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1, 'The Greening Of Mrs Donaldson') "I gather your my wife," said the man in the waiting room.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: (Page 139, 'The Shielding Of Mrs Forbes'): Elsewhere Mr Forbes had not been allowed to forget his despicable behaviour at the wedding and he spent several months in more or less permanent exile to the garden shed.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group read, I have no intention of buying a copy.

Chosen as one of my reading groups December read, I can hardly wait for our January meeting to find out what people thought of this one. A bit of a prude myself, I can only begin to imagine some of the comments that will be made - mind you, they could all be a lot more liberated than I expected and have really enjoyed the book.

Smut? I guess the title says it all.

Two short stories within the one book, 'The Greening Of Mrs Donaldson', and, 'The Shielding Of Mrs Forbes',  smutty they might well have been but I also found them quite/very funny in that they combined the (almost) 'normal' with the outlandish bordering (or is this just me?) on the perverse.

The funniest of the two books in my opinion, 'The Greening Of Mrs Donaldson' is about a widow who, her husband having died, makes extra money by working in a hospital, playing the role of patients presenting with various ailments to student doctors, and, letting out her spare room to young couples, the first of whom set a precedence when, unable to pay the rent they, well, lets just say they find an alternative means.

The second, 'The Shielding Of Mrs Forbes', I found less funny (probably because it didn't have the advantage of the humour of the hospital scenarios) and was more predictable. The story of a middle class family headed by a mother who believes her family grander than they actually are, her beloved son is about to marry a woman who is not only ugly but, she believes, totally beneath him.

Cleverly written, it seems to me that the author has a big talent for making things sound ruder than they actually are, I would nevertheless recommend caution as though there is nothing too explicit in these stories and what there is is largely dampened with droll humour they are quite rude in an almost typically English end of pier type of way meaning that they are full of an understated, nudge-nudge-wink-wink type of humour that is full of innuendo.

The 104th book read in my 100+ Reading Challenge.

11 comments:

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I really enjoyed The Uncommon Reader by Bennett so I may just look for this book. Thanks for telling us about it! Please let us know some of the comments from your book group ;-)

....Petty Witter said...

I loved The Uncommon Reader as well, one of only three book club reads that I went out and bought a copy of. I'll be certain to let you know what my fellow readers thought of Smut.

Nezzy said...

Thanks darlin', I'm always on the hunt for my winter readin' list and these sound great!

God bless ya and have a fantastic kinda of day! :o)

Giveaway, my place...ya'll come. I'll leave the light on for ya!

Jenners said...

Your review actually makes me want to read these! Not sure what that says about me though.

Suko said...

I wonder if this book is wrapped in plain brown paper, or in some other manner? (I suppose one could read it in the privacy of one's own bedroom.) You've whetted my interest in this book.

Dorte H said...

Probably not a book for me either. I don´t think I am a prude, there are just things I don´t care to READ about ;)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Hm... innuendo is hard to write, I suspect. It can end up being way too rude as you seemed to have felt about the second story. I hope you get some enjoyment out of the reading club! :D

Mama Zen said...

Smut? Say no more; I'm there!

Kelly said...

Oh, I think it sounds quite appealing - especially considering it's more innuendo than graphic description (which I don't care for).

Mamakucingbooks said...

Haven't read this book yet. Hope I can get my hands on this..hmmm..have to put t in my Chritmas Wish List. Maybe Santa will bring one for me :)

naida said...

Sounds a little bit naughty, but not too much.