© The Financial Times Ltd 2013 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
March 23, 2012 10:03 pm
Smut: Two Unseemly Stories, by Alan Bennett, Profile, RRP£6.99, 208 pages
With an enticing keyhole cut into the cover to reveal a bedstead, it’s no surprise that voyeurism and amateur blackmail are the thrust of Bennett’s cheeky pair of “unseemly” stories.
In the first, widowed Mrs Donaldson acts out maladies for students at a teaching hospital. To her daughter’s consternation, she fills the social gap left by her ungrieved-for husband by taking in a pair of lodgers, who soon provide an exuberant alternative to a shortfall in the rent.
Gay and vain banker Graham, apple of his overweening mother’s eye, marries plain Betty in the second tale, a hilarious romp of breached “suburban rectitude”, deceit and sexual manoeuvring. Gary likens the fumble of marital sex to “cracking a safe” in one of many delicious euphemisms that pepper Bennett’s understated prose.
Both tales offer ribald pleasure. Bennett’s politely lubricious style is a joy, and his unseemly material is frank, funny and entertaining.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.