Just in time for Christmas comes a delightful romp featuring the irascible octogenarian, Aubyn De’Ath, Baron Lindum. Uncomfortable in the 21st century (and probably in the 20th and 19th), Lord Lindum’s comprehension of the modern world extends only as far as he wants it to.
The book follows the course of 2020, beginning with Christmas 2019 – which appears in memory as a time of unbridled liberty – and moves through the calendar’s normal feast days and high holidays punctuated with restrictions, lockdowns and tiers. (“It will all end in tiers,” as his lordship notes.)
Throughout this time, Lindum, assisted by his factotum, Fiskerton – who appears to be without scruple and capable of as much politically correct criminality as his master – fetches, carries, arranges and badgers in an obliquely sinister manner, reminiscent of flunkies in Gormenghast or Nightmare Abbey.
There is an art to invective. It’s more than a rant; it has precise targets and results in piercing satire and a number of good, audible, laughs. To do this, one needs to be artful, and not to over analyse what is a piece of excellent comic writing, the author – or editor – succeeds admirably.
By having the story told in the third person, the control of the narrative is in the hands of an unknown observer, and as such, the ironic observation is enhanced.
This short book entertains and delights and would be a splendid seasonal gift for someone you love – or can’t stand.