I’ve read some fantastic books this summer but a lot of them have been about surplus women, unhappy marriages and frankly abusive husbands. The overall effect has been slightly depressing at times (Elizabeth Von Arnim’s ‘Vera’ made me so prickly I couldn’t be nice to my partner for 2 weeks after) so in a bid to read something more cheerful and in honour of the immanent new Marghanita Laski release from Persephone I dug out ‘Love on the Supertax’.
I found this book in a charity shop in the section labelled oddities, which is a pretty fair description of it. A slim volume of not quite 130 pages published in 1944 it starts like this:
The heroine of the story Lady Clarissa indulges in dreams of being born poor and untitled with all the privilege and opportunity that brings, and so is delighted to meet a young worker. He is able to introduce her to the forgotten delights of enough to eat, and the wonderful certainty of public transport after the vagaries of nonexistent taxi’s. One of the funniest passages in the book is the meeting between Clarissa and the young man’s parents; it’s beautifully drawn and perhaps a bit less cruel then the rest of the book.
Eventually Clarissa ends up with the sinister Sir Hubert, the saviour of his class; a black marketer and fascist who I presume is modelled on Oswald Mosley, there were a few details that felt like Mitford references, especially to Nancy Mitford’s novels, although it’s long enough since I read them for me to be unsure of how much of a mark she was meant to be. I definitely got the impression though that Diana Mosley and her like where an intended target.
It’s a funny little book, amusing with a definite edge to it, and certainly something of an oddity compared to the other books of the period that have come my way. Well worth picking up if you find a copy and have an hour or two in which to read it.