The World My Wilderness by Rose Macaulay is a book born of loss and destruction. And yet it is not without optimism.
It is 1946 and the people of France and England are facing the aftermath of the war. Banished by her indolent mother to England, Barbary Deniston is thrown into the care of her distinguished father and conventional stepmother. Having grown up in the sunshine of Provence, allowed to run wild with the Maquis, Barbary finds it hard to adjust to the drab austerity of post-war London life. Confused and unhappy, she discovers one day the flowering wastes around St Paul’s. Here, in the bombed heart of London, she finds an echo of the wilderness of Provence.
‘The World My Wilderness . . . had a powerful effect on me as a young reader, growing up in postwar London. Its landscape of bombed churches and derelict streets powerfully expresses Macaulay’s sense of desolation during and after the war, for herself and for Europe.’ Hermione Lee
An Uneasy Peace
The World My Wilderness strikes me as an instance of fiction that reveals as much about time and place as bald historical facts. The novel is set in 1946, when countries, societies and most of all...Read more
The Shining City
Picture the scene: a heavyweight London literary event in the 1930s. Two well-known women novelists, chatting. ‘My novels won’t live, Ivy,’ says Rose Macaulay to Ivy Compton-Burnett. ‘Yours...Read more