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Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson

Mapp and Lucia (1931)

by E. F. Benson

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Like reading a camp, bitchy version of Wodehouse in which every single character is a frightful, parochial snob. Delightful. ( )
  siriaeve | Jul 9, 2018 |
I don't understand why I love the residents of Riseholme and Tilling so much. They really are the most vapid, conniving, hidebound, silly snobs you could ever imagine, and Lucia and Miss Mapp are the worst of the bunch. And yet, when they do occasionally get their comeuppance, I can't help but feel a pang. And I'm always eager to read more. ( )
1 vote rosalita | Mar 14, 2018 |
Delightful; amusing; gentle comedy of manners: while accurate descriptors of Mapp and Lucia, these words also make it sound twee and, perhaps, dated, which is far from the truth. Gossipy, waspish and, at times, malignant are also accurate, and go more to the heart of the humour.

Elizabeth Mapp hates Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas with a passion; Lucia despises and pities Mapp in equal measure. Each scheming and plotting to be the centre of their social circle, their machinations against each other must always be concealed (barely and, usually, ineffectually) by the appropriate observances of the middle and upper-middle class conventions of a "between-the-wars" England at its most parochially self-absorbed.

The other villagers are by turns allies, pawns and antagonists in the war between Mapp and Lucia. Loyalties shift and turn as first one, then the other appears to have the upper hand. However, Mapp's malevolence usually causes her to overplay her hand and, just when she seems about to trump her opponent, she makes some awful gaff that Lucia turns to her advantage.

There is a well-observed cast of satellite characters, notably Lucia's best friend and companion, the effeminate and endearing Georgie Pilling, the only person of steadfast and unwavering loyalty amongst the two main combatants' followers.

I absolutely loved this book and cannot recommend it too highly. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Dec 26, 2017 |
The fight between Mapp and Lucia gets tedious, and you wish you could hasten to the end of the book. ( )
  siok | Dec 25, 2016 |
Bravissima for Lucia! A truly entertaining book with no redeeming value whatsoever but perfect for the light-hearted read. Lucia is the perfect foil for the odious Miss Mapp (I'm convinced if one looks up the word "odious" in the dictionary, there will be a picture of Miss Mapp) and the book is simply fun right down to the very last paragraph! ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
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Cordially dedicated to the
Marquess of Carisbrooke.
First words
Though it was nearly a year since her husband's death, Emmeline Lucas (universally known to her friends as Lucia) still wore the deepest and most uncompromising mourning.
It is a sad comment on the English nation, no doubt, that it persists in regarding many narratives of humiliation, shame and cruelty as delightful and amusing entertainments, suitable to be given to children. (Introduction)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"Mapp and Lucia" is one of the works making up Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels. Please do not combine this single work with any of the multi-work (omnibus) editions, such as "The Mapp and Lucia Novels".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141187689, Paperback)

Subtly brilliant comedy of social rivalry between the wars. Emmeline Lucas (known universally to her friends as Lucia) is an arch-snob of the highest order. In Miss Elizabeth Mapp of Mallards Lucia meets her match. Ostensibly the most civil and genteel of society ladies, there is no plan too devious, no plot too cunning, no depths to which they would not sink, in order to win the battle for social supremacy. Using as their deadly weapons garden parties, bridge evenings and charming teas, the two combatants strive to outcharm each other and the whole of Tilling society as they vie for the position of doyenne of the town.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Mapp and Lucia is the centrepiece of E F Benson's series of Lucia novels, bringing together the eponymous middle-aged doyennes of polite 1930s society, Miss Mapp and Miss Lucas.

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