Books March 2001

New & Noteworthy

More

The Clothes They Stood Up In

In this miniature portrait of a marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Ransome are forced to face the emptiness of their well-established lives when they return from the opera to find that all their furnishings, right down to the "lavatory brush," have been stolen. Sheltered Mrs. Ransome feels liberated to be suddenly relieved of the "paraphernalia"—cake stands and fish forks and guest towels—that "they had transported ... with them across thirty-two years of marriage to no purpose at all," and she discovers the delights of Indian grocery stores, bean-bag chairs, and TV. Mr. Ransome, unresilient and exacting, can't bend so easily to welcome the accoutrements of modern Britain. The playwright Alan Bennett's attention to concrete detail, and his depiction of contemporary life through Mrs. Ransome's unworldly eyes, make his scenes hilarious, but his vision, in which an empty marriage is replaced by talk-show sentiment, is hard. Bennett's wry take on long-enduring marriage and his satiric juxtaposition of society old and new, conservative and liberal, is a sweet tanged with moral judgment.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In