THE WHISPERERS by Robert Nicolson


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Robert Nicolson's slim story deals with a harmless if slightly daft little old lady who lives in a Glasgow slum; her worthless husband has disappeared, and her son is doing a stint in prison. So that her life consists of handouts from the National Assistance, and the romance of her highly active fantasy life in the haut monde which she has created from random remembrances of the smart magazines she has read in the public library. She also fancies that she is being spied upon in her little flat, and reports her suspicions to the long-suffering local police. Accidentally falling into some real money, she is actually the prey of some low sorts for the first time. Later her well-meaning providers at the National Assistance Board reunite her with her long-lost husband, an accomplished parasite of the welfare services, who later disappears again. The Board also sends Mrs. Ross to a psychiatrist, who then robs her of her fantasies, and from then on- both her life, and its account here, become less entertaining. It is- all in all- a slight, sometimes amusing, sometimes touching picture of hapless old age- which has at best a reluctant readership.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1961
Publisher: Knopf