Saturday, 23 February 2013

Miss Laski scores again ....

Miss Marghanita Laski is one of the most brilliant and versatile women of today. Her personality shines through every medium to which she turns her hand.
In recent months she has been much in the public eye with appearances on television, in What's My Line? and later with Down You Go, while her quick wit has delighted radio listeners on many an occasion. Her literary reviews in The Observer and other journals are most perceptive, whilst in national newspapers, magazines and periodicals her name is frequently seen, for few journalists are so eagerly sought after.
The secret of her success is an abiding interest in people of all classes, their desires, ambitions, motives and pleasures. Such a lively curiosity is a gift possessed by few and it is given fullest expression in her witty satires Love on the Supertax and Tory Heaven. In her novel Little Boy Lost, which is now being filmed, she revealed a deep humanity. Now, in The Village, her longest and most ambitious work so far, she delights us with a rich study of social life in England today ...
Just how Miss Laski manages to write so much in addition to her other activities must remain a mystery - or a tribute to her powers of organisation and capacity for work. For she is married, has two young children, and maintains a charming old house on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Sometimes with her publisher-husband she escapes from all this to a quiet old mill, in Somerset, which they have converted into a country home. 
Daughter of Neville Laski, QC, and niece of the late Harold Laski, she was educated at Somerville College, Oxford, where her early journalistic efforts brightened The Cherwell, the University's magazine. 
From News of the Companion Book Club, for March 1953

For no particular reason, I pulled my copy of The Village down from the shelf this evening and out fell this book club pamphlet. The April choice that year was A J Cronin's Adventures in Two Worlds which I read many years ago when we were all fans of Dr Finlay's Casebook, which was the next best thing to Call the Midwife but not quite so gory. (Did it really end in 1971? I feel ancient!)
There's a black and white picture of Marghanita Laski - looking ever so like Nancy Mitford - on What's My Line?
My copy of The Village was originally owned by a Mr Renn who lived in Dalston ... I do hope he enjoyed it as much as I did.
Of course, then I had to go browsing for the Laski titles I've still to track down ... Success! A copy of Apologies for 55p is on its way. I have no idea what it's about except that Wikipedia describes it as caricature and Persephone once published this in one of their letters.
Has anybody read Tory Heaven?


Sue said...

I haven't Mary. I haven't even read The Village despite it being on my bookshelf. Must get round to it. I distinctly remember Marghanita Laski being on Radio 4 when I was a child. Could it have been on What's My Line? I'm 47.

mary said...

It ran on and off for years on radio and TV, Sue - so maybe you remember one of the later series.
The picture is from the original TV line-up with Gilbert Harding - when they all wore evening dress. Before you were born!
How lovely to be able to remember Marghanita Laski. I wonder why she made such an impression on you?

Toffeeapple said...

Hmm, two more books winging their way to me. Thank you Mary. I have yet to read this author but I look forward to reading Lost Boy and The Village. What a shame that postage is so expensive now, otherwise those two would have been great bargains.

mary said...

Little Boy Lost is simply lovely, Toffeeapple, one of my best-loved books. Did you buy the old Penguin edition with the ragamuffin boy on the cover?

Sue said...

Mary, it was her name. I used to hear her being introduced and always think -surely they mean Margarita not Marghanita?

Isabelle said...

I remember M Laski on The Brains Trust, which as a child I felt was a bit boring. Also Dr Bronowski.

Toffeeapple said...

I was let down by the book shop over Little Boy Lost but The village arrived and I have just finished reading it, it was perfect. It was an old Companion Book Club edition, complete with dust cover.

mary said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Toffeeapple. My copy of Apologies arrived with a very charming dust-jacket, too.
I know what you mean, Isabelle. Even the title Brains Trust sounds deadly, doesn't it!

Anonymous said...

What about those 'chuckies' (teeth), surely they could have got her a brace?

She was ever so posh on the wireless, more 'refined' than the Queen Mother.

The village was Kings Langley in South Herts, near Garston and the newish Harry Potter Studio tour.

Miss Laski's garden is usually in the Garden Yellow Book. You could easily do both in one day, but you'd prob. need a motor!



mary said...

Thanks for that, Anonymous! I've just looked it up and I see it's open one day in May. That does sound like a good day out. I don't have a car, unfortunately, and it looks like you'd need one.