Most helpful positive review
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Puck and Ariel are hard at work.
on October 20, 2001
A perfectly Shakespearian comedy. Three, practically four, weddings like in As You Like It (four) or A Midsummer Night's Dream (three). The threads are so entangled that everyone is about to marry the wrong matches. Luckily some Puck-like Jackson appears in the picture and sets things right, with the help of a twelve-year-old boy.
Iris Mirdoch is quite apt at organizing sentimental suspense, bends and U-turns in the plotline, and at evoking the perverse atmosphere of a place where everything is wrong, the chaotic drama and then the cleansing of the mess and the thoroughly happy atmosphere of the crowning weddings.
Jackson comes from nowhere, has to go no one knows, not even him, where, and is there to sort out odd ends and unmatched couples. He brings the right ones to the right others, and he brings happiness.
But his alter ego is Benet, the wall-named, since his name means « dumb » or even « retarded » meaning late in historical time. He is the one who creates havoc by insisting on some totally wrong unions. This creates a new level of reading. The rich, the upper class, high society, are nothing but the psychiatric ward of the social hospital. They are all spaced out and corrugated, and their treatment comes from a guardian angel who makes them comb out straight their disorderly interlaced hairs.
The end is just mysterious but serene and it shifts from Jackson to the little boy who is understood as the naive Ariel of so many Shakespearian comedies. And we are at the beginning of a new stage, just like the sunshine breaks through after The Tempest.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU