Family Money by Nina Bawden

family money by nina bawdenA London property bubble, impoverished hospitals, worries about care in old age – this novel, published in 1991, feels oddly topical.

Family Money is the story of recently widowed Fanny (her name perhaps the one thing that dates it). Returning from an evening out, she becomes involved in a violent incident. She is injured and has little memory of what has occurred.

Her children, solicitous of her (or perhaps her half-a-million-pound house) try to make plans for her. Fanny, however, has ideas of her own, as well as a mutual fascination with an enigmatic young man living on the canal at the end of her garden which only grows as her memory returns.

Bawden takes an unflinching look at her characters with their assumptions and their self-justification. They are privileged but they are also needy. She is not afraid to mock them but there is compassion too, and a warm, understated humour.

Fanny negotiates her physical weakness and her erratic memory with dignity and irony. She looks back with a clear eye at the life she has led and the trials she may face.

Superficially this is a domestic tale of the moneyed upper-middle classes. It would be easy to ask, who cares? But this apparently simple story, lightly told, is beautifully structured.

It asks questions about age, class, morality, mortality, friendship and love, all in less than 300 pages of crisp, cool prose. And there’s a nice little twist at the end.

View Family Money on Goodreads

2 thoughts on “Family Money by Nina Bawden

  1. I very much like Nina Bawden’s writing. Thankfully I already have this waiting to be read.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s