Social Climbing Is Risky
The Eustace and Hilda trilogy is a comedy of manners, an illustration of how the middle classes are lost in the upper-class world of great houses and Venetian palazzi, and puzzled by men called Dick who do not share their bourgeois morality. But like all good comedy, it has an underlying seriousness. The world Eustace finds himself in is mysterious to him; for his sister, who is more perspicacious, it is frightening. And how true this still rings, several decades later: some of us find life socially awkward, or are not quite at ease in our own skins sexually – or both.