`Download Book ☟ The Radiant Way ⇔ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

The best Drabble novel I have read so far.Why is it good Because it addresses the most interesting and important requirements of a novel it helps us how to understand life What Drabble succeeded in portraying is life in the Thatcher decade seen through the eyes of three protagonists For those of you unfamiliar with the Thatcher decade, it was a time of tremendous social upheaval, revolutionary in fact Britain had survived the catastrophe of WWII by unwinding its empire, and going into gentle decline for a whole generation as it wrestled with the potentially contradictory demands of increasing the quality of life for its workers and keeping down costs to remain economically competitive in world where the British Commonwealth was no longer a captive market for its products By the 70s this had reached critical stage and the country was a mess It was a decade of strikes and social unrest and my memories of it are of a London piled high with rubbish, dog shit on the streets and lights going out at school and home due to the power cuts Britain had been surviving since the war by spending than it was earning Margaret Thatcher came in to balance the books and put an end the financial hemorrhage Difficult decisions had to be made to cut costs by a dramatic scaling down of social and education grants and resisting automatic increases in wages for public mostly union employees For this she was lauded by the few but derided by the many for being a heartless greengrocer s daughter who in Oscar Wilde s language understood the price of everything and the value of nothing The other Margaret our Drabble portrays the angst that three middle aged ladies go through as they observe the effects of these changes on their own lives and the lives of those around them.Why does the novel work Because much like Flaubert does in L education Sentimentale, Drabble focuses on life on the sidelines of the action and as a reader we can identify with this This is the antithesis of the heroic novel, where the protagonist is at the center of the action Here great events are glossed over, dismissed with a cursory sentence here or there The Thatcher revolution only impacts one of the protagonists in that table cloths are dispensed with at the women s prison where she works and her husband loses his job and briefly raises money for the miners strike by walking around with a bucket requesting donations, only to find another job relatively quickly in his home town However, just as in the life of a thinking person, most of the action goes on in the characters minds as they evolve from students to middle age There is dramatic action a severed head is left in a protagonist s car but the effects of this are deliberately underplayed by the author, who appears keen to keep all the action mental pun intended.Like in any good novel about life, all the important themes are there birth, death, marriage, gender roles, divorce, feminism, education, housing, employment, adultery, sex, prison, transport, class, wealth, society, friendship, old age, insanity, parenting, murder, journalism, media,ambition, success, art, criticism, ethics, paradox, fatherhood, gerontology etc Why etc because it is almost certainly a novel which deserves a second read and I am sure that onion like there are layers to be revealed.And the conclusion Reminiscent of Voltaire s Candide, we have a fade out to a bucolic scene in the closing pages where the 3 ladies enjoy a pastoral sunset Drabble being the intelligent woman she is, I can t help thinking she is parodying the typical TV films of the era, which ended with the hero riding off into the sunset Works for me as I haven t yet figured any better answers to life either. I consumed this book like comfort food and it wasn t junk but carefully prepared dishes like smoked ham with onion sauce It gave me a warm feeling of comradery, which is the strength of TV series featuring an enduring set of friends though this novel s three female characters are too discerning to waste their time watching the telly Alix is the most grounded Esther is enigmatic, otherworldly Liz vacillates between contentment and turmoil The novel opens with a New Year s Eve party given by Liz and her husband at their posh Harley Street home as 1980 is rung in Liz learns that her husband is leaving her for another woman What follows covers a span of five years the women s lives are altered in many ways, some good, some bad England itself there s a strong element of social commentary is greatly altered, much for the worse This is an ambitious, complex, intelligent book It s also a messy melange But I have no desire to explore its faults For nearly four hundred densely packed pages it kept alive in me those feelings of comfort and comradery, and feelings sweep aside criticism I thought Drabble might be going seriously off course in the book s last fourth, but she righted the ship and sailed it into its berth to the very place where it belonged. I read a collection of Drabble s short stories recently and decided to read one of her novels But she s written many novels, so where to begin In a quick scan of her novels, the one about England at the dawn of Thatcherism intrigued me So here we are with The Radiant Way Too long Perhaps, but male writers get away with going on and on What s the plot Well, there are three women who are dealing with changes in England, changes from a bent to socialism to a belief in capitalism Husbands are either subsumed by the prevailing pro business attitudes or caught up in the plight of the Miners Wives re calibrate themselves to growing children, the need for smaller homes, and a country that no longer resembles the one they are used to Three women who knew each other from college take walks along a canal and meet for holidays, holding back and then spewing forth opinions If you lived through the early 1980s, or wish you did, you will find kindred spirits in Drabble s women. Not sure whether to categorise this as being the story of the lives of three women approaching middle age as the 1980s begins, or as the story of life in the 1980s shown by its effects on three women Its a subtle difference of emphasis back cover blurb very much suggesting the former, but after reading I favour the latter The three women in question are all Cambridge University educated Liz successful psychoanalyst married to media mogul , Alix teaches poetry to female convicts and Esther reclusive Art historian Their friendship endures, but the real drama of the narrative is not provided by their deeds, but by the times they live in, for this is 1980s Britain uncaring, divisive, politicised The 80s of serial killers, miners strikes, social service cuts.Drabble is such an authoritative voice, a ubiquitous omniscience that she somehow suffocates her story The characters live, but are never allowed to breathe. I surprised myself by liking this book a lot I capriciously took it with me on a holiday to Bali last September and ended up not being able to put it down Amazingly intricate and absorbing accounts of middle class life in Thatcher s Britain seen through the eyes and minds of three female protagonists A lot of well crafted overlapping interlinking plots too Recommended as a good intro to a writer who might otherwise be overlooked by literary snobs like me especially men, that is. I had the same reaction to the Radiant Waythat I had to Needle s Eye, I m not sure if I truly liked it I think part of the reason is that I found Way to be frustrating in the sense that I knew Drabble was making a comment on British society of a particular time, but since I lacked knowledge about the society of that time, it felt like some things went over my head I know it s supposed to refer to Britain s Second Nation, but as I am not entirely sure what that is, the references confused me I also found most of the characters annoying in the sense that they were so passive What saves the book is the fourth character, the narrator, who is very snide and who reminds me of a gossip I found myself wanting to get know that character instead of the three central women. This novel about women was probably groundbreaking in 1987, when it was published Sadly, it hasn t aged well, nor does it reflect well on the British middle class in the 80s It tells the story of three women who became friends at university and traces their lives through middle age The novel opens on New Year s Even 1979, at the beginning of a decade that saw a tremendous amount of upheaval in Great Britain Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister during this time she privatized a number of state run entities, broke unions, closed down mines, waged war in the Falklands While these events are taking place and sometimes affecting these women, they spend all their time worrying about appearance, where to live and who to take to bed Maybe I was not impressed by the book and the characters, who frankly irritated me, because I graduated from high school in 1980 and from college in 1984, the time spanned in the story The times made a greater impact on me and shaped the decisions I made in my 20s much than they affected these women Now that I am about the same age as they were in the book, I find I am much aware of current events and respond much than Drabble would have her characters do Other than my personal response, the book was generally readable and had a few funny and a few poignant moments. I think this will be a book, or rather trilogy that I will return to, many times in the future I forgot that I was even reading on my Pendo pad, and felt like I was in the authors presence, listening to her telling me this graphic novel Don t think I have ever really enjoyed serial books, but now can t wait for my library to buy these next two So literary, rhythmic and of my era and peopled with the people I always wished I had been born as one of them Loved it. I was so sorry to come to the end of Margaret s Drabble s magnificent 1987 novel, The Radiant Way What cheered me up was the belated discovery that it s the first of a trilogy, so A Natural Curiosity 1989 and The Gates of Ivory 1991 went straight onto my wish list to add to my Margaret Drabble shelf I have become very fond of the characters Liz Headleand, Alix Bowen, and Esther Breuer, and I want to follow the further adventures of these brilliant women as they negotiate Thatcher s Britain and their own middle age.Drabble introduces this trio at a lavish New Year s Eve party Liz is a wealthy Harley Street psychotherapist but this is the first NY Eve party she s ever thrown.They have given many parties in their time, but on New Year s Eve they have always gone out to the gatherings of others sometimes to several gatherings in the course of the evening, and some years separately, not always meeting even for the magic chimes A modern marriage, and some of its twenty odd years had been modern than others Maybe Liz reflects f0r this is what she contemplates, through the oval mirror , maybe this is why they decided to have such a party, this year, at the end of this decade as a sign that they had weathered so much, and were now entering a new phase A phase of tranquillity and knowledge, of acceptance and harmony, when jealousies and rivalries would drop away from them like dead leaves Well, why not After twenty one years, one is allowed a celebration Charles will be fifty, she herself is forty five There is a symmetry about this, about their relationship with the clock of the century, that calls for celebration p 6 Alas for Liz, the new phase she enters into so abruptly on this night is separation from Charles, who has to everyone s astonishment decided to leave her for Lady Henrietta Latchett Dull, neat, and not even young and sexy For Liz, the humiliation is comprehensive, not least when she realises that she is almost the last to know.To read the rest of my review please visit `Download Book ⇻ The Radiant Way ☟ Twenty Five Years Ago Liz, Alix And Esther Were Leading Lights At Cambridge Now They Meet As Old Friends At A Glittering New Year S Eve Party To Welcome In The S It Is The Dawn Of The Thatcher Era, And Britain Is On The Brink Of Great Social And Political Upheaval How Will These Three Ambitious And Confident Middle Aged Women Survive The Personal And Professional Challenges, And The Changing Values Of The Next Decade The Radiant Way Brilliantly Explores Their Loves, Losses, Hopes And Fears, And The Strength Of Their Friendship