Another severe and wonderfully acerbic book by Ivy Compton-Burnett. We begin looking at a rich family in which the father of several daughters and a son, a widower, is pursuing a wife. This potential marriage is fragile at best as each child has their turn dissecting and interrogating both potential step-mother, their father, and additionally as the father’s own mother has her say too. This is how the book flows. A situation occurs and various actors within the situation interrogate it with acidic precision, unemotional dissection, irony, and wryness. The book is hilarious, but we are not reading jokes here. Everything is deeply exaggerated, not to the point of farce per se, but in this kinds of absurd ways. It’s almost as if every character is a mound of dripping wax slowly exuding their caustic analysis of the world, and even in their very names do we see this severity: Ninian, Hugo, Egbert, Hengist, Lavinia, Ransom, Selina, and so on. I do get the impression like certain other writers that Ivy Compton-Burnett’s novel all more or less work this way, and that is informative. This is the third of hers I’ve read, and the disconnected version of real life we have presented here is so extreme in its details and execution that we are seeing almost variations on a theme.