by Alan Bennett
Audiobook, BBC WW
read by the author
2 hours 18 minutes
"The Ransomes had been burgled. "Robbed," Mrs. Ransome said. "Burgled," Mr. Ransome corrected. Premises were burgled; persons were robbed. Mr. Ransome was a solicitor by profession and thought words mattered. "
These opening lines were featured in my Tuesday Teaser last week, but they are so memorable I had to include them again! As the novella opens, the Ransomes have come home to find their apartment completely cleaned out - right down to the toilet paper! Some uproariously funny moments ensue as the investigation begins, but soon things take a more serious, even dark, turn.
Mr. and Mrs. Ransome have very different ways of coping with their losses. Mr. Ransome, who enjoys a rigid, structured existence, is able to return to his normal routine, just slightly compromised, with relative ease. For Mrs. Ransome, the task is not quite so simple. Being stripped of all her possessions presents an opportunity to question both her routine and many past decisions. She does exactly that and becomes quite a changed person in the process.
It is always a treat when an author reads his own work, and Mr. Bennett delivers a wonderful performance. The Clothes They Stood Up In, while not charming in the vein of The Uncommon Reader, still delivers a message that caused me to stop and think. I'm not done reading Alan Bennett. Perhaps The History Boys: A Play will be next, or maybe an essay collection...
My audio rating: A