HERSELF SURPRISED by Joyce Cary

HERSELF SURPRISED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this imitation of an eighteenth century novel, Joyce Cary narrates the story of Mrs. Monday in a leisurely, ironic portrait. From the early 1900's on, over a quarter of a century, Cary shows the superiority of the rational mind as opposed to the purely emotional one, even though the emotional one- as in the case of Mrs. Monday- may be warm-hearted and generous. Genial, large-boned Mrs. Monday hires herself out as housekeeper to two masters, both equally lecherous, one of whom eventually marries her after furtive meetings on the backstairs. The other master progresses to meetings in the upstairs maid quarters. In between, Mrs. Monday has an affair with a modern artist who paints red women and overgrown plants. Mrs. Monday loves all three men, but due to her irrationality, she cheats one of them in order to support her artist. The end of the book sees Mrs. Monday off to prison, where she intends to straighten herself out and emerge a thoughtful and religious woman.... Occasional beauty of writing, the cleverness which achieved critical attention for The Moonlight, will still not carry this to a general audience.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1948
Publisher: Harper