Read Yesterday's Houses by Mavis Cheek Free Online
Book Title: Yesterday's Houses|
The author of the book: Mavis Cheek
ISBN 13: 9780571224241
Edition: Faber Faber
Date of issue: January 4th 2007
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 661 KB
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Loaded: 2347 times
Reader ratings: 5.7
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A woman’s place is in the home – or not as the case may be.
This book by Cheek challenges overriding notions of what it is to be female and to be connected to homes, families and the world.
I must admit I was surprised to read that other reviewers on here would (and do!) describe this book as chick-lit. I personally hate the aforesaid genre (so much so that I won’t speak its name again for a while) and find this book anything but. Feminist fiction – yes definitely – but the other, well no.
Cheek’s writing style is very jaunty and satirical but she does seem to understand the darker menaces of womanhood and femininity issues very clearly within the timeframe of a British sixties to eighties emancipation. Each London property that features in the narrative has its own distinct personality and character and influences directly the mental state, physical relationships and wellbeing of the protagonist Marianne. Drawing to the end of the book, she breaks some of the shackles of the housing/relationship conundrum and lives her life in more relative liberty as a freer and happier woman.
In essence, this book is all about feminism and the interspersed links to feminists and feminist authors carry on a theme of liberty, release and ground-breaking as the novel progresses.
Cheek has her own particular take on male characterisation during the novel but ultimately the men portrayed live much freer lives and are less ‘chained’ to circumstances and physical surroundings throughout the work (although they often 'bodge' them up).
As my first introductory read of Cheek, I have been very pleased. I love her methodology of tackling quite dark and challenging subject matter via tongue in ‘Cheek’ prose (sorry couldn’t resist that one). That said, this is still a book that I would happily pass on to male readers so they will be able to enjoy too the comic and clever humour.
Great book and I look forward to reading the author again. Recommended!
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Read information about the authorBorn in Wimbledon, now part of London, Mavis left school at 16 to do office work with Editions Alecto, a Kensington publishing company. She later moved to the firm's gallery in Albemarle Street, where she met artists such as David Hockney, Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield and Gillian Ayres. In 1969 she married a "childhood sweetheart", Chris Cheek, a physicist, whom she had met at a meeting of the Young Communist League in New Malden, but they separated three years later. Later she lived for eleven years with the artist Basil Beattie. She returned to education in 1976, doing a two-year arts course at Hillcroft College, a further education college for women.
Although Cheek had planned to take a degree course, she turned instead to fiction writing while her daughter, Bella Beattie, was a child. She moved from London to Aldbourne in the Wiltshire countryside in 2003, but as she explained to a newspaper, "Life in the city was a comparative breeze. Life in the country is tough, a little bit dangerous and not for wimps."
Cheek has been involved with the Marlborough LitFest, and also teaches creative writing. This has included voluntary work at Holloway and Erlstoke prisons. As she described in an article: "What I see [at Erlstoke] is reflected in my own experience. Bright, overlooked, unconfident men who are suddenly given the opportunity to learn grow wings, and dare to fail. It helps to be able to tell them that I, too, was once designated thick by a very silly [education] system. My prisoners have written some brilliant stuff, and perhaps it gives them back some self-esteem."
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