Recently Reading: Nancy Mitford and the Apocalypse (but not together)

wigs pigeon omens

Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford (1935) – Years ago I read The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate (her most famous novels) and decided to read more of her works. I made the mistake of not reading the novels in order and had to give up on Don’t Tell Alfred because I realised I hadn’t read The Blessing yet (currently on the go) and that some of the characters do cross over (in the novels concerning Fanny). Some of her works are stand alone and so any order is ok.

The Nancy Mitford website sumerises the plot very well: “Eugenia Malmains is one of the richest girls in England and an ardent supporter of Captain Jack and the Union Jackshirts; Noel and Jasper are both in search of an heiress (so much easier than trying to work for the money); Poppy and Marjorie are nursing lovelorn hearts; and the beautiful bourgeois Mrs Lace is on the prowl for someone to lighten the boredom of her life. They all congregate near Eugenia’s fabulous country home at Chalford, and much farce ensues.”

I discovered that Wigs on the Green has been out of print for over 75 years as it is a satire on British Fascism, Nancy Mitford declined to republish after the events of the second world war because she thought it would not be in good taste. What is useful to know is that in the 30’s two of the other Mitford sisters were devotees of Fascism and did not recieve the publishing of the novel well.

Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford (1940) – I read this last year but forgot to write about it. Its quite a funny, not too complex story about wealthy Sophia Garfield who during the war works at a first aid post but dreams of being a glamourous female spy. Need I say more,larks and misunderstandings and much excitement ensues. Although I would not say this is one of the best of her novels it was thoroughly enjoyable light reading, and I do intend to read all her novels.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1991) – I read this as a teenager, and having forgotten most of the details of the plot really enjoyed reading it again. The Antichrist has been born (although there may have been a bit of a mixup in the hospital due to a scatterbrain nun) and Armageddon is neigh (well in 11 years anyway). Aziraphael (angel) and Crowley (demon) however don’t really want the world to end as they rather like it. Newton Pulcifer has been enlisted into the Witch Finder Army and Anathema Device is trying to follow all the coming events prophesied by her ancestor in her book The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.  Also there’s a delivery man doing his rounds for four very special people.

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