Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mariana by Monica Dickens

This may be the loveliest opening to a novel that I have ever read.

"Mary sometimes heard people say: 'I can't bear to be alone." She could never understand this. All her life she had needed the benison of occasional solitude, and she needed it now more than ever. If she could not be with the man she loved, then she would rather be by herself."
 
It captured my own feelings perfectly, and expressed them more beautifully than I ever could.

Mary escaped to the country with just her small terrier dog, Bingo, in tow. Her husband was at sea, in the navy, and the country was at war. Because she wanted to be quiet, to remember, to think.

It was lovely watching Mary and Bingo settle in, lovely to be reminded of the depth of Monica Dickens' understanding of character and of her talent for catching exactly the right details to paint a perfect picture.

I was particularly taken with her understanding that a terrier can be sound asleep and alert at the same time ...

The peaceful scene was disturbed when Mary switched on the wireless, when she heard that her husband's ship had been hit. There were survivors, there was hope, but Mary had a night to get through before she found out the next morning if her husband was alive or dead. It was a sleepless night, and as she lay awake Mary turned over memories in her mind.

She remembered her childhood, with a mother who had been widowed in the last war and who worked as a dressmaker to support them. Her husband's family would have helped but she didn't want to be beholden to them. It was enough that they gave Mary lovely, idyllic summer holidays in the country. And a place in a bigger family.

She remembered going to drama school with grand plans, and coming to realise that she was on the wrong path. Fashion college in Paris was a much better idea. She could have a lovely time and she could play a part in the family business. Mary had a wonderful time in Paris, and she made a marvellous catch. But even the most marvellous catch is not necessarily the right catch.

Mary found her happy ending back in England, at the most unexpected moment.

Now it has to be said that Mary is not the most sympathetic of characters. She is often awkward, thoughtless, selfish even. But she was real, and for all her failing I did like her, I did want her to find her path in life, her place in the world. Sometimes fallible heroines are so much easier to love. And Mary was real, alive, and her emotional journey was so utterly real. There were highs and lows, tears and laughter. Every emotion a young woman might go through. And so many incidents, so many moments to recollect. All of this was observed so beautifully, with understanding, intelligence, and just the right amount of empathy.

But if Mary's life was the foreground, the background was just as perfectly realised. Her world was as alive as she was, and every character who was part of that word, even if only for a short while, was caught perfectly.

I loved watching over Mary's life. It was an ordinary life, but every ordinary life is unique and Monica Dickens highlighted that quite beautifully.

And I could have stayed in her world quite happily, but morning eventually came, and Mary had to face whatever news of her husband might come. And when it came I had to leave. I'd love to know what happened in the next chapters of Mary's life, but failing that I'll go back and read about the years I know all over again one day. Because this is a lovely book, and a lovely way to get lost in another life and another world.

6 comments:

Brona Joy said...

I went through a Monica Dickens phase about 20 years ago when I was living in London. I loved her gentle stories of everyday life and regular women.
You've made me remember a time and place that brings a smile to me face - thank you :-)

eyad ammar said...



شركة نقل عفش بالدمام الشرق الاوسط متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء

eyad ammar said...



شركة نقل عفش الجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركات النقل البري بالدمام
شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارقام شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام

eyad ammar said...


شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة وشقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة غسيل خزانات ومكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة ونقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة انها الاولى فى مكافحة ورش الحشرات بالمدينة المنورة رش البق رش الصراصير مكافحة النمل الابيض بالمدينة المنورة
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة

ياسمين حسام said...

ارخص شركة تنظيف فلل بابوظبي
ارخص شركة تنظيف شقق بابوظبي
ارخص خدمات تنظيف بعجمان
ارخص خدمات تنظيف بالشارقة
ارخص شركة تنظيف مجالس بدبي
ارخص شركة تنظيف بدبي
ارخص شركة تنظيف موكيت بعجمان
ارخص شركة تنظيف مكاتب بعجمان

ارخص شركة تنظيف مطاعم بعجمان

ارخص شركة تنظيف موكيت بالشارقة



ياسمين حسام said...

شركة تنظيف بالبخار بدبي نحن شركة متخصصة في تنظيف الأدوات المنزلية الحديثة في دبي.
وهي تعتمد على أفضل طرق التنظيف الحديثة من خلال الآلات والأجهزة التي تحافظ على تنظيف المواد الخام للأثاث.
تقوم شركة التنظيف في دبي بتنظيف الأفران والسجاد والموكيت بدقة وسرعة. تدريبهم على أفضل طرق التنظيف.
شركة دبي للبخار لديها طرق دقيقة وسريعة وعالية الجودة
وهو يختلف من حيث نوع المواد الخام المستخدمة في التصنيع وكل نوع لديه طريقة للتنظيف لمنعه من التلف لهذا نراجع الأنواع المختلفة للحبيبات وكيفية تنظيفها من خلال عمال شركة تنظيف في دبي:
شركة تنظيف بالبخار في دبي
شركة تنظيف بالبخار بالشارقة
شركة تنظيف بالبخار في عجمان
شركة تنظيف بالعين
شركة تنظيف مباني بابوظبي
شركة تنظيف المباني برأس الخيمة
شركة تنظيف مباني بالشارقة
شركة تنظيف مباني بعجمان
شركة تنظيف مباني بالعين
شركة مكافحة حشرات عجمان