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Margaret Bonham: The Casino

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Persephone Books (Trade Paperback) ISBN: 1-903155-38X

Book: margaret bonham, the casino
Margaret Bonham's eldest daughter, Cary Bazalgette uses the preface to this edition of her mother's 1948 volume of short stories to share some intimate details of the Bonham's life. She also gives readers a delightful insight into the character of her mother, a woman whom she sums up as "impossible to live with, but…also impossible to forget."

I suspect that many of the characters created by Bonham might also fit that description if one met them in person. In this collection you'll find some tales about ordinary-seeming folk who wind up doing something unexpectedly out-of-character, and other stories about unconventional people who rout -- deliciously -- the attempts of their acquaintances to mould them into conformity.

Bonham draws the portraits of her characters with fine economy, well-chosen words and with a refreshing lack of sentimentality. Every one of these 15 stories elicited a smile from me -- mostly one of amusement, but occasionally a smile rather wry.

In her preface, Bazalgette also muses on the real and imagined connections between the people and places of her own childhood and those in the fictional tales that her mother wrote. I enjoyed very much, the intertwining of these biographical notes about the author with the products of her imagination, and found it fascinating to try and trace the links that her daughter suggests may or may not exist. The fiction and the biography each complement and enrich the other, and make for an absorbing reading experience.

Moira Richards

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