Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Firstly thought was living lives of quiet desperation.

Waxing: morituri te salutant

All the studies show that people tend to take a partner who is roughly as attractive as they are; like attracts like, that is the norm. Page 26.

Waxing eloquent as a Comedy of manners?

Weird little book, apparently short-listed for a prize, which is how I found it.


Life. Birth. Family. Death. Dry humor, that one.

Too British by half, I think, the U.K. equivalent of an MFA first novel, but, what with British eccentricities? Yeah, that works.

My own definition, an MFA novel is one that is produced by cultured, educated products of the US’s MFA plans, a little too highbrow for some. The story and plot are so tightly interwoven with almost poetic prose, with layers upon layer of symbolism from ancient classics to over-the-top pop-culture allusion. While I appreciate the level of sophistication — sometimes? It is a little much, more like, “Watch how clever I am,” rather than material of substance. Usually, the term is, “Critical success,” and “literary critics loved it.”

So halfway through, I’m thinking this is a British equivalent an MFA novel, but, since it is British? I’m amused rather than disturbed. Could very well be satire, too.

I cannot recall, off the top of my head, the title of another book that was based, in part, on traditional therapy. Pretty sure I read one or two like that, though. The therapy thing, part of the last third.

The pacing is smooth, the writing is crisp and clean, with a little extra doily of lace, to set it apart as a veddy British book. While not immediately apparent, reading with the vague descriptions of place, it is easily identifiable as London.

In its own right, a thought-provoking novel with certain rather Freudian images left over. Without giving too much away?

Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

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