Boyd, Martin. The Cardboard Crown. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 1953.
This is the story of Alice Verso told through her grandson’s discovery of her diary. From its pages half written in French he is able to uncover generations of intricate and complicated relationships. Alice marries into the Langton family and brings the clan financial stability. But, despite this Alice discovers her husband is having an affair with a childhood friend named Hetty. Told across three generations and bouncing between Australia and England everything about this story was strange. As a reader, I couldn’t stay engaged with the story or the characters. There wasn’t a single person I connected with or cared about. It was the kind of story I often lost place with – meaning, when I put it down I couldn’t remember the last thing I read.
Favorite lines, “All history is a little false” (p 43), “If she could bring her prey to bed, she wouldn’t have cared if she had mutton fat in her hair and a smut on her nose” (p 46), and “We must accept that people do behave idiotically…” (p56). And the follow up to that quote, “Any idiot can reproduce himself” (p 112). Too true!
Reason read: April is the best time to take a trip to Australia.
Author fact: Boyd is one of Australia’s best loved authors. He was a talented poet as well.
Book trivia: The plot of The Cardboard Crown is “founded on fact” according to the author.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Australian Fiction” (p 37).