James Purdy, Elizabeth Bowen, Muriel Spark: Memorial Day Reading


I often re-read The Nephew around or over Memorial Day weekend and have been responsible for friends reading it then. One scene has a sweater-clad character crossing the yards between houses on a gray, chilly Ohio Memorial Day, as so many Memorial Days can be where I live, in Maryland. And how many Memorial Day books do you know of? After learning their nephew is missing in the Korean War, an elderly, quarrelsome sister and brother try to reconstruct what they know of the elusive boy who lived with them from age 14, when he was orphaned, until he joined the service.


Memorial Day is much about WWII. The Heat of the Day gives a feel for London during the war. Bowen’s descriptions of how dark the city was, of covertly using flashlights to find street numbers and doorways and to keep from tripping, add detail to a sense of that time.

Set during Summer 1945, there’s much about rationing of food and clothing in Spark’s The Girls of Slender Means.

This entry was posted in book reviews, Memorial Day, World War II and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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