Friday, September 5, 2014

Their relationship is unsatisfactory from the start, limited to letters and to snatched meetings on the fringes of family gatherings. The couple are doomed by the very respectability from which their class has gained so much, for they have none of the liberties of the very poor or the very rich: where the moneyed customers at Julia's workplace can indulge in sexual liaisons and divorces, she and Leo have difficulty simply in finding a place in which to make love. Her great fear is that the increasingly suspicious Herbert will present himself at the shop and – that most lower-middle-class of calamities – "make a scene". Her biggest resource, fatally, is her imagination.

- Sarah Waters on A Pin to See the Peepshow

(compare Marcel Berlins' utterly smug and blind summing-up:  "Edith was a prolific reader of cheap romantic fiction, and had an excitable imagination" -- !)