Sunday, 9 January 2011
Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
FOREWORD: When I decided to start making a note of all my reads on here I imagined myself writing wonderfully erudite and inciteful reviews. A clear case of my imagination being bigger than my brain.
Miss Buncle's Book is a book within a book about Barbara Buncle, a forty-something spinster who, in need of money, decides to write a novel. Lacking any imagination (by her own admission), she simply observes the people living in her village, Silverstream, and writes about them. When the book is published the inhabitants of Silverstream quickly recognise themselves and in their reactions we see how, consciously and subconsciously, life imitates art. Miss Buncle's book Disturber of the Peace, like Miss Buncle's Book, leaves the reader wondering to what extent the writing is naively candid and to what extent gently satirical. Either way, the result is most amusing. Persephone (the book's publishers) judge Miss Buncle's Book to be "undemanding", and it is an easy read but the clever interplay between what Barbara writes and events in the real world make the book more than just entertaining and reminds us of the power of literature.
For me, the book's most endearing quality is that is doesn't feel like "Literature". It feels like your best friend wrote it. Especially for you. Thank you Jen for sending it to me, Miss Buncle's Book is unusual, sweet and thought-provoking.