Posted 20 hours ago

Darling: A razor-sharp, gloriously funny retelling of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

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Other authors have come along in my reading journey that have been right up my street - Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels are my all time go-to for comfort reading and never fail to raise a wry smile. Although Linda believes she wants to be free from the family confines, really she only dreams of romance and marriage. How on earth do you transpose a novel so distinctive, and whose plot hinges on the fraught political backdrop of early 20th-century Europe, to today’s world?

Eventually Linda does find her way out from the bosom of her deeply eccentric extended family, and moves to London to become a model. Perhaps this is why she remains a heroine for all ages: there is an innocence about her, even as she abandons a child and, here, dabbles in drugs.Darling is the story of her growing up: the people she meets; the men she falls in love with; and her friendship, enduring and eternal, with Frances. Her story is told by Fran, the cousin who had been sent to grow up with the Radletts when it became clear that her care-free mother couldn’t give her the stable childhood she needed. I avoided watching, because the Wes Andersonification of my greatest literary succour seemed likely to burst every vein in my eyeballs. Knight’s characters are sparky and fun, and in some cases their relationships are crafted with more care than in Mitford’s original. Sharp, topical, and powerful, Hyper is a story about what remains of our humanity in a world increasingly dominated by the flows of capital.

No one likes people fiddling with their favourites, especially a classic as beloved as Mitford’s tale of interwar aristos the Radletts. What could have been a disaster - a modern reimagining of Nancy Mitford's superlative comedy of manners The Pursuit of Love - is an absolute triumph. Eventually Linda does find her way out from the bosom of her deeply eccentric extended family, and she escapes to London. Her first venture into literature was 2000’s My Life on a Plate, charting a woman’s complicated family life which was more or less a fictionalised account of her own story.

We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values. Brilliantly done, faithful but imaginative, tremendously romantic and very funny' Nina Stibbe, author of Reasons to be Cheerful*****************Marooned in a sprawling farmhouse in Norfolk, teenage Linda Radlett feels herself destined for greater things. She knows she doesn't want to marry 'a man who looks like a pudding', as her good and dull sister Louisa has done, and marries the flashy, handsome son of a UKIP peer instead. Their madcap world is peopled by creations such as Fanny’s serial monogamist mother The Bolter and irascible patriarch Uncle Matthew, who enjoys xenophobia and hunting his children with bloodhounds across the Oxfordshire countryside.

Linda Radlett lives with her siblings, Louisa, Jassy and Robin, and their parents, Matthew and Sadie, on a vast Norfolk estate. It’s all an absolute hoot and Knight seems to be especially enjoying herself when it comes to Uncle Matthew, a man “of extreme and simple emotions” who weeps at the sight of particularly tragic old dogs and delights in trolling people on Instagram (“CLOSE YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU SMILE”).

In a place she had determined to forget forever, both anticipated encounters and unanticipated revelations show her, and us, that sometimes life is neither fate nor chance: perhaps it’s nothing more than a little luck. Some tweaks reflect contemporary sensibilities: sea swimming replaces hunting, and most of the characters have jobs: Linda runs a Dalston café, and her one true love, Fabrice, owns chic boutique hotels. Their parents are global rock icon Matthew and former private chef Sadie, who herself is the daughter of an Indian diplomat and an English debutante. As crazy as things get, there are poignant moments scattered throughout which remind us that love is sometimes not what we imagined, but it can also come when we least expect it.

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