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Pump Six and Other Stories
Paolo Bacigalupi

The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford I'd only distantly heard of the Mitford clan - just enough to lackadaisically pick up a used copy of a double-packaged [b:The Pursuit of Love|835458|The Pursuit of Love|Nancy Mitford|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1178768641s/835458.jpg|821072] and [b:Love in a Cold Climate|372811|Love in a Cold Climate|Nancy Mitford|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1174251844s/372811.jpg|23641365], but then a few months back the internet recommended Nancy's work three times in two weeks, and I gave in.

It was an odd sort of thing - I felt no real connection to the characters; the plot is essentially nonexistent, and yet by the time I was a third of the way into the thing, I found myself foregoing far snappier plots with far more beloved characters to read more of Nancy's sly, snide asides. And I certainly think of them as Nancy's, not precisely her narrator's, because much of the amusement comes from the contrast between Fanny's wide-eyed attempts at worldliness and the unconsciously scathing things Nancy puts in her mouth.

This book is neither a romance nor the genre which still bears the unfortunate name chick lit, though it bears a passing resemblance to both. It's far too unvarnished about its characters, though never unkind, to properly fit in either genre (not to mention the unsentimental yet fitting ending, which is is certainly not happily-ever-after). It's also very much shaped by its timeframe - between the wars - and weirdly out of time, pulling on much older traditions. It's a society novel about frivolous people, yet it never quite makes it to frivolity itself. Again, far too unsentimental. Just frickin' funny in many, many places.

Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.