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Lunch » Tags » Book » Reviews » The Uncommon Reader: A Novella » User review

Charming, and very funny.

  • Nov 1, 2008
Rating:
+5
In this short hilarious novella, Bennett imagines a scenario where, following some errant Corgis, the Queen discovers the mobile library parked in the grounds of Buckingham Palace and feels obliged to borrow a book, out of courtesy. One book leads to another (as books will tend to do), and before long, Elizabeth has developed a serious reading habit. The consequences are far-reaching, and very funny.

Within this framework, Bennett provides an incisive (and entertaining) exploration of the power of reading. Despite being one of the planet's most-traveled inhabitants, her majesty's horizons are broadened in ways she could not have imagined.

A satisfying, highly entertaining, read.

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Briskly original and subversively funny, this novella from popular British writer Bennett (Untold Stories; Tony-winning playThe History Boys) sends Queen Elizabeth II into a mobile library van in pursuit of her runaway corgis and into the reflective, observant life of an avid reader. Guided by Norman, a former kitchen boy and enthusiast of gay authors, the queen gradually loses interest in her endless succession of official duties and learns the pleasure of such a common activity. With the dawn of her sensibility... mistaken for the onset of senility, plots are hatched by the prime minister and the queen's staff to dispatch Norman and discourage the queen's preoccupation with books. Ultimately, it is her own growing self-awareness that leads her away from reading and toward writing, with astonishing results. Bennett has fun with the proper behavior and protocol at the palace, and the few instances of mild coarseness seem almost scandalous. There are lessons packed in here, but Bennett doesn't wallop readers with them. It's a fun little book.(Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0312427646
ISBN-13: 978-0312427641
Author: Alan Bennett
Publisher: Picador

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