The Sun in Scorpio

When I was younger I enjoyed Margery Sharp’s Miss Bianca books (the inspiration for Disney’s The Rescuers movies). Her adult novels, however, seem to be driven by character much more than plot.

The Sun in Scorpio tells the story of Cathy Pennon, who found bliss during childhood on the Mediterranean island of Malta. With the Great War threatening, however, the family removes to rainy native England, and Cathy’s life then becomes a quest to somehow return to the sun. Until then she remains faded and sullen, hustled along the path of life by circumstances beyond her control.

The book is relatively short (about 250 pages), but spans about thirty years by skimming to focus on main events. Cathy must deal with an overbearing older sister, play governess to a spoiled cherub, and suffer through WWII. The book also gives details on secondary characters here and there, like Cathy’s brother Alan.

Cathy is a well-drawn and unique character, a staunch poker player with astonishing resiliency and a fondness for secretly sunbathing on the roof. She always remains somewhat harsh, though, and I was never able to actually like her, though Miss Sharp may very well have intended that. Overall the book is very well written. If at times it seemed rather literary–the back of my Perennial Library edition calls Cathy “an unwilling symbol of the ‘average’ Briton’s endurance of years of radical historical change”–at least it felt real and interesting.

I have a few more Margery Sharp books on the shelves that I still want to try at some point as they promise to be a little lighter, like Martha in Paris. She is clearly a talented writer with a well-developed sense of irony.

Published in: on April 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] The Sun in Scorpio, by Margery Sharp […]

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