Reading A Surrey State of Affairs felt like watching a car-wreck -- it was painful and horrible and I wanted to look away, but I couldn't stop. Constance Harding was impossibly oblivious to the shenanigans going on around her. I mean, you repeatedly find your Polish housekeeper's knickers in your husband's study and you put it down to slovenliness?
Admittedly, for the first month or so (the book is told as a series of blog posts), this obliviousness was kind-of funny and I wondered how crazy things would have to get before Constance opened her eyes to reality. But the humor wore thin by the end of February and then it was a matter of impatiently waiting for Constance to catch on.
It took Constance two-thirds of the book to find out about all the things going on around her and, even then, she didn't actually catch on. No, she was told pointblank. And then it was all surprise and disbelief and coping and self-actualization in South America and downsizing and happyish-ever-after. The End.
Clearly, this novel wasn't written with a reader like me in mind. Possibly, a more upper crust version of my British mother-in-law would have found it hilarious or insightful. Whereas, I just found A Surrey State of Affairs frustrating and a bit wearying.
And I must hurry up and read something else, because I'm not ending 2012 with a bad book!
A Surrey State of Affairs by Ceri Radford (Viking, 2012)