BE BIRDCAGE by John Bowen


Email this review


The gilt on the cage here (London, and the sophisticated, ambisextrous sphere of the media- films and television) comes off easily in this acute, satiric small novel which deals primarily with Peter Ash and Norah Palmer, in their mid thirties, who have been living together for nine years in a very ""sensible relationship"". Somehow, however, desire, not too strong a feature to begin with, has diminished into affection, esultory bickering and now a lack of respect (Norah's) which causes them to take up separate quarters. The novel, which is more properly a series of set pieces, follows Peter, as he has a short-term affair with the more lovable, commonplace Bunty- a trainee for the police force; as he submits to the indignity of scabies- and a humiliating treatment at the Public Cleansing Department; and in Norah's attempt to console herself with a poet- deviate who is unequal to the opportunity. A minor subplot, the attempt to find a now aged writer of a play performed in 1904, occasions the only really touching scene here in a book which, clever as it is, invites less sympathy than The Centre of the Green.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1963
Publisher: Harper & Row