Home Alone

Almost midnight and R. is still at the capitol.  And now she's just called to say she's on her way home.

I couldn't have asked for better company this week than the memoirs, diaries and essays of playwright and actor Alan Bennett, in Writing Home and Untold Stories.  Someone donated Writing Home, and finishing it I found we had Untold Stories in the collection.  I have spent the long evening hours alone this week reading them.

I didn't think that I had heard of him, though I realized as I read that I had seen a couple of things by him, The Madness of King George and An Englishman Abroad.  And he had played Sillery in the television production of A Dance to the Music of Time, which I have on DVD.

I can't entirely connect with his stories of the theater and of the worlds of art and music.  To read his appreciations of this or that performance or exhibit only makes me aware of how little experience I have of those things.

In late middle age, as he deals with the deaths of his parents and of his mother's sisters, he reflects on his family and his childhood in Leeds, and it is these pieces that I most enjoy.  There is something about stories by writers who have "escaped" from gritty working-class worlds in the north of England that attracts me.  The Nottingham of Alan Sillitoe and John Harvey.  Bennett's account of his uncle Clarence, who died in the First World War, is especially fine.

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