The Pursuit of Love

Nancy Mitford was a snob, she would probably have irritated me enormously if I had known her in person, but she's also the author of one of the funniest books that I have ever read, which continues to amuse me 25 years on from my first reading of it.

The pursuit of love charts the coming of age of two girls born into or connected with an upper-crust quintessentially English family. Based to quite a large extent on Nancy Mitford's own upbringing and family background - the Mitfords were a quite extraordinary clan, Nancy's own sisters included a Communist, a devotee of Hitler, and a future Duchess of one of the noblest of English aristocratic houses - The pursuit of love is an hilarious, and engaging coming-of-age tale, with some of the funniest one-liners and characters to be found anywhere. It's a genuinely laugh-out-loud book, although it also has its tragic side.

Mitford explores the vagaries and expectations of the pre-War British class system, and follows a group of debutantes as they attempt to pursue and capture love. Her snobberies do occasionally grate, and quite frequently puzzle - why are mirror, perfume and weekend considered common? - but it's still very hard not to laugh at her writing, and to be fair to her, she often laughs at herself. Silly, funny, and touching - this is a fun read. And anything that continues to amuse for 25 years must be doing something right.


Aarti said…
Ooh, I really want to read this book now! I didn't realize it was so strikingly funny :-)

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