Sunday, January 10, 2016
Home Life - Volume One / Alice Thomas Ellis
Alice Thomas Ellis's collections of her columns written for The Spectator in the late 1980s are very hard to find in the US. I've just bought Home Life - Volumes One through Volume Four from used book dealers. I'm sorry that these books aren't easier to find. I feel like a tease telling you how much I liked Home Life: Volume One and how much I'm looking forward to the other three volumes.
Alice Thomas Ellis was her pen name. She was married to publisher Colin Haycraft and lived in Camden Town (London) and in Wales. Her neighbors in London were Alan Bennett, who I assume is the author of a favorite book of hime, The Uncommon Reader, and the author Beryl Bainbridge, her best friend, with whom her husband had a 15-year affair. Alice, I'll call her Alice for consistency, and Colin had seven children, two of whom died. She was a Catholic.
These columns / essays are very short, usually three or four pages in a small format book. They range from discussions of the habits of cats, of drunk strangers in the garden, her son's birthday present to himself of a young boa constrictor, bats, cooking, ghosts, why some appliances won't work for certain people, more discussions about cats and why strange ones keep showing up in the drawing room.
I like her dark humor and her wry observations.
Posted by joan.kyler at 1:15 PM