Something Light by Margery Sharp ~ 1960. This edition: Little, Brown & Co., 1960. Hardcover. No ISBN. 216 pages.
My rating: 10/10.
I love the works of Margery Sharp. No exclamation mark needed, merely a sober statement of fact. I am slowly and with deep pleasure building up a collection of her works. In every “Definition of Happiness” there is included “something to look forward to”; I am therefore a happy woman as I look forward with pure anticipation to sitting down with each hard-won out-of-print title by this most excellent forgotten author.
Luckily Margery Sharp was popular enough in her day that her titles are for the most part reasonably available with a bit of on-line searching, though her first two novels, Rhododendron Pie (1930) and A Fanfare For Tin Trumpets (1932), fetch rather high prices in the used book world; well into the hundreds of dollars. In the meantime I haunt second-hand bookstores at every opportunity, peering hopefully at the faded titles of scruffy vintage hardcovers in eternal hopefulness. I did find two of her works this way, at the same most-excellent used bookstore in Kamloops, on separate occasions several years apart. I paid the princely sum of $5 each and controlled my great glee with difficulty until I was well away from the store. This also freed me up, as I gloatingly explained later to my slightly skeptical husband, to be able to shell out for several of her other works at much higher prices, because then they all averaged out, and each one of the others wasn’t so ridiculously expensive, etcetera, etcetera.
But I digress.
Something Light was my very first Margery Sharp, picked up on a whim at a little second-hand store I occasionally visit to scan through the modest book section. I noticed the book early in my shelf scan, but the faded and foxed dust jacket spine was less than appealing, and it wasn’t until my second pass around the stacks that something made me pull it out for a closer look. Here’s what I saw:
Hmm, I thought to myself. What’s all this, then? And I opened it up, noting that the pages easily turned as though it was used to being handled by a loving owner, and started to read. One, two, three pages. Then I quietly closed the book, walked up to the cash register, paid over my one dollar, tactfully ducked out of a conversation with the chatty proprietor, went out to my car, settled down and kept reading, completely neglecting my grocery and town chores list and stopping reading only when I was overdue to collect my daughter from her dance class. Definitely hooked.
Louisa Datchett likes men. No, not in the way that you’re thinking from that bald statement. Louisa likes men.
Here, read it yourself. A romp of a book, something light indeed among Sharp’s delicious oeuvre.