Friday, October 06, 2006


Viva Trapido

According to the Guardian, the personal library of the late Princess Margaret has now been boxed up and sold on the cheap. (The article by Maev Kennedy appears under the rubric, "Special Report: The Monarchy." Classy!) Not surprisingly, the author dwells on some of the inscriptions. The princess's copy of Swedenborg's The Delights of Wisdom Concerning Conjugial Love: After which Follows the Pleasures of Insanity Concerning Scortatory Love was inscribed To Margaret, Princess of the Realm, and signed Wm. Other inscribed items, such as Sir Rupert John's scholarly monograph Racism and its Elimination, appear never to have been read. What really got my goat, though, was this sentence:
Each [book]--even the dogeared Mickey Spillane thriller, a 1963 Corgi paperback, and Barbara Trapido's Temples of Delight, "a shimmering summer read"--carried an elegant bookplate, printed: "From the Apartment of HRH the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, 1930-2002."
Snigger all you like at Mickey Spillane, who's apparently being dissed for appearing in an infra-dig Corgi softcover. But don't dump on Barbara Trapido. She won the Whitbread for Brother of the More Famous Jack, and one of her subsequent novels, The Travelling Horn Player, is as intricate, funny, and rueful as anything I've read in years. She is not, emphatically not, some sort of Danielle Steele in jodhpurs. So there.

Glad to spot a fellow admirer of Trapido. I reread her books again and again, they are wonderfully intelligent and pleasurable--the prose style of "Frankie & Stankie" is quite unbelievably good, too...
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