How’s that for a promise fulfilled? I forced myself to read Crazy Pavements by Beverly Nichols, which I was half-through and isn’t long. It just felt long. It’s the story of a young handsome gossip columnist who meets the subject of one of his columns and falls head over heels. Because he is so very good looking Lady Julia takes him up for the season and her creepy so-called friends do, too. This is in the days of the Bright Young Things between the wars drinking and dancing their lives away. Brian is deliciously new and naive and causes a sensation for about a minute. Sadly, the people are quite tiresome – none of them like each other, they require constant stimulation, and yet it would be far too gauche to enjoy anything. Julia actually seems to fall in love a bit, but then that’s even more tedious. There’s also an unnecessary racial epithet and a dubious portrait of Lord William’s servant.
It started off all right. Brian is likeable and his approach to his job is amusing, but then the collection of poor little rich boys and girls is more sad than sparkling. Brian’s love for Julia is difficult to sympathize with as it seems to be based entirely on looks. While she’s apparently intelligent enough to see how shallow and worthless her supposed friends are, she’s not bright enough to escape and find something worthwhile. Whether the beautiful young man is destroyed by this new life or not is the extent of the plot. I will try reading another book or two from the same time and see if the same thing happens. I always thought I would enjoy this sort of novel a great deal more than I did.
It fulfills the #1 slot of the Wild Goose Reading Challenge and I guess can be my first book in the Reading Round the World challenge — England. Not exactly branching out, half my reading, maybe more, is British, but it’s a country, in the world, so might as well count it.