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The Pattern in the Carpet

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I ordered this recent book from the library because I'd enjoyed some of Margaret Drabble's novels in the past but mainly because of the subtitle 'A Personal History with Jigsaws'.


The book is part memoir, mostly of her childhood and that part of it spent in the company of her aunt Phyllis in Long Bennington a village through which the Great North Road used to run.


In many long school holidays Margaret used to sit companionably with her aunt being taught the right way to do a jigsaw - "edges first, Margaret" - and also being taught to read by her: aunt Phyllis had more patience than her own mother.


This book is discursive, with its digressions into the history of jigsaws (their earliest incarnation being dissected maps) and then excursions into the world of children's books, not forgetting the short but revealing asides on her relationship with her sister Susan (A S Byatt): Ms Byatt doesn't seem an altogether likeable character. The book also touches on childhood play, and getting older, and....it's a big jigsaw but I found it enjoyable.

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    • By Binker
      I just read this article about the rivalry between A.S. Byatt and Margaret Drabble that I thought BGOers would find interesting.  I've heard of both, but never read either, and I certainly didn't know they were sisters.  I think many of you have read one or both of them and it's possible that this is all old news.  On the other hand, it opens up the interesting topic of literary rivalries.
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