To Bed with Grand Music by Marghanita Laski - review by Gillian Tindall

Gillian Tindall

Silly Young Things

To Bed with Grand Music

By

Persephone Books 197pp £10 order from our bookshop
 

Some twenty-odd years ago, when Marghanita Laski was old, redoubtable and a regular on Radio 3’s Critics’ Forum, I occasionally coincided with her on the programme. I recall her expressing disdain for an intellectual Hungarian film on the grounds that there was nothing interesting in ‘the sexual activities of silly young people’. There was a tiny pause, during which I and the other contributors wondered where this left Romeo and Juliet and Anna Karenina. But I was especially intrigued because I happened to know that Laski herself had once written a corrosively authentic and daring novel about the goings on of a silly young wife in wartime London.

The book, out of print for sixty years, has not been in the canon of distinguished and original Laski works (The Victorian Chaise-Longue, Little Boy Lost, her non-fictional studies of religion and ecstasy), because she wrote it under a pseudonym in the Second World War. Why? The historian

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter