REAL PEOPLE by Alison Lurie
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At Illyria (Yaddo), Janet Belle Smith has a chance to ""become one's real self, the person one would be in a decent world."" She's written one volume of short stories At Home, and at home she comes up against all sorts of restraints: a not too attuned (to her writing) husband; the trivial inconveniences and interruptions of domesticity; and the social discomfiture of those who think they see themselves in her work. Illyria however gives her a chance to write more freely--she's been in a molting phase for some time; to commune with Kenneth, an artist-teacher with whom she had established a special rapport the previous summer; to be her genteel, lovely self. However the arrival of a young thing who appropriates most of the males including Kenneth sends her off in a spiteful snit--right into an un-nice affair with a crude character--and finally into the realization that she will never write anything of any value as long as she is copping out on life. . . . At one point Janet, a Lady Writer, wonders whether it's worse to be a Lady or a Writer. And also whether the adjectives ""charming feminine witty sensitive subtle original"" are not perhaps a parody of her work. Abandoning them willingly, let's say that if a touch insubstantial, Real People is a classy, clever entertainment by one of our few real writers.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1969
Publisher: Random House