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The Constant Nymph (Virago Modern Classics) Paperback – April 18, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel focuses on the Sanger family, headed up by Albert Sanger, a womanizing, self-involved English composer of some note, who has secluded himself and his family of undisciplined children in a chalet in the Austrian Tyrol. The children are from two different marriages and one liaison, and show varying degrees of their father's artistic brilliance as well as his contempt for societal norms. The household is propped up by the two eldest children, Caryl and Kate, who are already young adults and the most stable of the menagerie. The middle four children are the product of Sanger's second marriage to Evelyn Churchill, an Englishwoman of good family who cut herself off from her family to marry him, while the youngest is the product of Sanger's liaison with his current mistress (both wives are dead).
The novel opens with the almost immediate death of the seriously ill Sanger, leaving four of his five younger children parentless. The youngest child disappears from the story very soon with her mother, as do the two eldest children, who have careers of their own to follow, one as an operatic soprano and the other as a conductor.Read more ›
So this was pretty fascinating. In some ways I couldn't help but think of the old movie "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" when the bride arrives home only to find instead of a haven, bedlam and destruction with seven men~ her new relatives~ living like animals. This was kind of like that. Sanger's children have had no training other than an intense life-course in music. They enjoy life (or at least accept life) as they find it, but know nothing of traditional education, social graces, culture etc. They live wild and free. That is, until that momentous day when Albert Sanger dies suddenly without a penny and an aunt from England arrives to "rescue" the unfortunate children...
At times, this is a very amusing story; and yet its not a funny book. It has an almost tragic "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" feel to it. We want happiness for the characters and yet shudder to think what that may mean..
FYI: There is a sequel to this called "The Fool of The Family", which focuses on Caryl, the oldest son, a violinist.
SEX: Talk of mistresses and loose living. Nothing intimate shown to reader.
PROFANITY: Mild (D's, B's)
MY RATING: PG
I plan to watch the movie version on TCM next week to see if it is any better.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book started off a little slow and I didn't feel that I would care or be involved with the characters but this changed fairly quickly and I was completely absorbed by them. Read morePublished 5 months ago by BritinBucks
It's been a while since I read this book, but I remember how much I enjoyed it!
I read this book after I saw the movie version from 1943 with Charles Boyer and Joan... Read more