Book review: Mary McCarthy’s ‘The Group’

Day 5: ‘you discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply’. Okay, well, this didn’t affect me deeply, but I genuinely did discover a letter hidden and forgotten in a book I bought from a charity shop. I wrote about this previously in a review, so I’ve reblogged that post here.

Aunty Muriel's Blog

(Beware: *spoilers*)

I buy my books and most of my clothes from charity shops these days, and I picked up Mary McCarthy’s The Group from the Oxfam bookshop in Reading. It came complete with a handwritten letter, which I read with absolutely no compunction whatsoever and then used as a bookmark. The letter was written by a girl, using silly turquoise ink and a proliferation of exclamation marks, to thank the recipients for their wonderful house-warming party. McCarthy’s book was returned with the letter, because apparently the boyfriend of the letter-writer had already read it. The letter is interesting for the following reasons:

  • The writer doesn’t really have much to say, so keeps returning to the subject of the party: ‘I have told so many people about the party…all their parties sounded extremely dull in comparison’. But this is a thank-you letter after all, and it amply fulfils its function.

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