A FLIGHT OF STEPS by Robert Nicolson


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The third of a trilogy of short novels centering around the character of an aging, eccentric, ragged yet fiercely independent soul, Mrs. Ross, this pays the same touching tribute to fragmented humanity. Mrs. Ross is now leading a crackpot, but as she regards it, completely rational existence. She has set the pattern of her days and nights...reminiscences about lost grandeur, delusions about her son Charlie, the ""world traveler,"" who brings her roses, trips to various choice waste disposal areas to pick up reading material, stops at the local police station to report the latest plot, and of course letters to the mighty, to Mr. Conrad of the National Assistance Board, to Harold Macmillan and ultimately, to Queen Elizabeth. All signed Mrs. Margaret Ross, Dame of the British Empire. Perhaps this sad Miss Brill madness would have been more successful if Mr. Nicolson had contented himself with the character alone. But loutish son Charlie drifts in and out, there is really a reason for part of her paranoia and, leaving no stone unturned, the author tears down not only the house but the block on which she lives. Mrs. Ross does not survive and the reader's sensibilities are dulled.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1966
Publisher: Knopf