It is rare to hear the barely conscious memories of a powerful woman reconnoitring the dimensions of a frustrated girlhood. The wooden, joyless father, the servile, fearful, nervous mother, the rules, the order, the manners, the placements, the positions, the positionings of the dinner table, extended to the smallest sensations of everyday life. The monstrous, unending oppression.
Is it an English oppression? Perhaps. There is the painful, unhappy education of a displaced intelligence, a displaced sex, a displaced class; the oblivion of a female among the ritual insensibilities of English law, the infinite isolation of a woman, divorced, middle-aged, groomed.
And there are the small contradictions of a rational woman, uncertain in the face of her irrationality, her daughter.