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Brophy, Brigid

mozart novel ball ronald

(British, 1929–95)

Brigid Brophy is one of the wittiest of post-war British novelists and deserves to be much better known. Her books are usually simple to read, but her ideas are subtle and sometimes require the reader to fill in the gaps. Brophy was a great fan of Ronald Firbank, and wrote a book about him (1973). She also published a study of Mozart. Start with The Snow Ball (1964), her best novel, set at a costume ball on New Year's Eve. The main characters are disguised as people from Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni. Move on to Flesh (1962), a funny and slightly grotesque book about sex. Less enjoyable, but interesting as an experiment is In Transit (1969), a fragmented short novel set in an airport lounge. Brophy makes ordinary life seem comical and unexpectedly bizarre. She is gently wicked about people's bodies, their sex lives, their egoistic desires.

  Angela Carter, Ronald Firbank, Muriel Spark  TT

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