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Marghanita Laski

Marghanita Laski is a novelist and critic. Her most recent book was Everyday Ecstasy.

Woman in Love

Marghanita Laski, 1 April 1983

Rosamond Lehmann must be one of the most beautiful women ever to have written novels that are worth serious consideration; and one of the most tragic. Wherever one stands on the gamut of believing a need to know or no need to know about the writer in order to make an adequate assessment of the work, some writers force a stance on to the critic. Rosamond Lehmann does this. My own wish is always to consider the work in the maximum isolation the work allows, but with Miss Lehmann’s, no isolation is possible. With most living novelists, and especially with novelists one knows, a fair first test is whether the writer is forgotten by the end of the first few pages. With Miss Lehmann’s novels and stories the writer never can be forgotten. Yet this particular test of quality is in her case invalid.

Good Books

Marghanita Laski, 1 October 1981

The easy truism, that a good children’s book is a book that’s good for children too, has enough truth in it to ensure that most fiction reviewers are at least open to the genre. But unless we specialise in children’s fiction, the current literary theory about it is likely to interest only some and only at specific times: those of parenthood and of grandparenthood. My own present interest is the latter.

Embarrassment and Loss

Marghanita Laski, 19 February 1981

Both A Way to Die and Letter to a Younger son are embarrassing books, and embarrassment tends to induce unhelpful reactions in anyone who has, or sees it as their duty, to assess arts and entertainments. To one set of views, embarrassment is a response to shock, and what shocks should be suppressed. To the other, embarrassment is admitted only as their response to the shocking, and what is shocking should, for health’s sake, be brought into the open.

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