2007: 89. The Caravaners

The Caravaners, Elizabeth von Arnim

You would think, from my recent reading that I am the world’s biggest von Arnim fan.  Such is the pitfalls of reading the Virago Classics.  I enjoyed this book more than The Solitary Summer and less than The Enchanted April (which I am guessing is her best, though I guess at this rate I’ll be able to say definitively, some day, huh?).   It tells the story of a party of upper class English people who, in defiance of the conventions of 1900’s England, decide to go on a caravaning tour around the English countryside.  The narrator is a visiting German gentleman, and the entire book is a satire of his petty and close-minded ways.  It’s a sharp satire on German life (von Arnim was married to a German gentleman for a while, and had grown quite disillusioned with German ways), and it is funny, but cutting to the point of cruelty at parts.    We feel bad for the Baron at times - but we always feel bad for his wife, for being married to him, so over all the satire is a success.  Still, as much fun as it was to see the Baron deflated, I couldn’t help but think of poor Eldegard having to go home with him after, and so I couldn’t totally enjoy the fun.

Recommended for:  von Arnim lovers, people with a taste for slightly mean-spirited satire.

Date/Place Completed:  6/22/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Virago Modern Classic

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017