Angus Wilson: No Laughing Matter

(568 words)
  • Marina MacKay (University of Durham)

In this bizarrely distorted family saga, we see the six Matthews siblings grow to old age, unable to break the patterns they have carved out for their characters in childhood. We meet them first as youngsters, enjoying a day out that “gave to that volatile and edged and edgy family a union of happy carefree intimacy that it had scarcely known before and was never to know again.” The psychologies of the family's elders are already mapped out in Chapter 1 when we are given privileged insight into their daydreams, inspired by a cinema reel of the Wild West journey to Eldorado: genteel Granny Matthews imagines Eldorado as Cromer, her son, Will, envisages financial escape from “Lloyd Georgery”, his servant, Hetty Stoker, imagines …

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MacKay, Marina. "No Laughing Matter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]