Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood

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Great Granny Webster was short listed for the Booker Prize in 1977.  It is the semi-autobiographical tale of successive generations of an aristocratic family. The story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl who is forced to live in her Great Grandmother’s crumbling mansion for two months. Whilst she ekes out her joyless existtance with her Great Grandmother she discovers the truth about her extraordinary family.

Unfortunately I was very disappointed with this book. It reads more like someone jotting down their family history than a proper novel. The characters are introduced through long descriptions, and fail to come alive. There was no plot driving it forward, so I quickly became bored. Luckily, it was a very short book, so I managed to make it to the end.

The humour was too subtle for me, as I didn’t find it amusing at all. I have no idea why this was short listed for the Booker Prize, and I won’t be rushing out to read any other books by Caroline Blackwood.


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