callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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The Odd Woman

The Guardian's '1,000 novels everyone must read' is like an enormous book blog. Rather didactic in approach, it's naturally got people talking. Today I had a look at Comedy. I'm glad to see Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis and Geoffrey Willans given their due, but where is Jane Austen? The introduction to the list rightly points out that comedy can have a serious purpose; can't a book be romantic and funny?

Stephen Moss (who he?) writes of Decline and Fall, ‘Waugh's bleak, amoral first novel is a young man's book, best read by young men (and perhaps the odd woman).’ That's me then, the odd woman, because I've read the book countless times and not just when I was young. Angela Thirkell is listed, hurrah! but an oddly chosen title, I thought: Before Lunch. ‘Published in 1939, Thirkell's irresistible comedy of manners is the most well-known of her Barsetshire series’. I wouldn't have thought that was true and it's not one of my favourites. What do other Thirkell fans think? Michael Frayn is rightly on the list but for Towards the End of the Morning (very funny) and not The Tin Men (even funnier). In fact, one of my favourite comic novels.

Any omissions/strange inclusions strike you?

Edit: I've just realised that Adrian Mole has been overlooked. Just his luck.
Tags: adrian mole, angela thirkell, evelyn waugh, guardian 1000 books, michael frayn, sue townsend
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