April 8, 2021 | pages 43-63 — start: "You said when you're busy in summer"
“She had been away from her country for nearly forty years and yet she was the most exaggerated American I ever knew.”
With insufferable Mrs. Powell, Stead sets in motion an exceptional character study on the prejudices that people pack and take along wherever they live.
Reading Stead’s equally funny & devastating scenes, I kept thinking of Calvino’s Memos for the Next Millennium, his description of “the sudden nimble leap” of the modern writer who can take on the weight of the world with a magical lightness & exactitude.
“She had seen the strangest thing—a soft dark fringed living thing, a human eye in the keyhole.”
How did this novel fall out of circulation, with an image this startling about one human determined to spy on another?