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Posted August 8, 2009
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Humorous and Diverting, of the Minor British Variety
Beautiful facsimile edition of the original 1932 printing with illustrations by Rex Whistler. A bit pricey at $24.95.
From its jolting opening line "Down the Garden Path" is a quick and enjoyable account of the author's acquisition of an old cottage and his creation of rather elaborate gardens on its property. Although the subject is ostensibly gardening, the book is rather more a portrait of the many eccentric characters he encounters in the process, including many plants that he profiles with descriptions as human as the humans in his story. Very funny, very British, very very.
Mr Beverly Nichols writes in a deceptively casual style that provides an unexpected lasting effect. He is adept at aphorism and it is these bits of his prose that will stay with you long after reading the book. If you like E.F. Benson and Nancy Mitford, you are likely to find this book diverting, but it is a minor literary achievement compared to their work--stylistic and engaging, not very developed, a great casual read.
The introduction, by a Nichols fan turned scholar, explains that Nichols was a prolific writer whose audience eagerly awaiting his next garden chronicle. He also wrote plays, children's stories and more. He was a member of a social set that included Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Somerset Maughm as well as Anita Loos and the opera star Dame Nellie Melba (whose autobiography he ghost-wrote).
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Posted April 19, 2010
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