So I recently finished “Towers of Trebizond”, which was a masterpiece. So good that I immediately went on AbeBooks and bought another four books by Rose Macaulay. To see if all her work compares to her masterpiece. Alas, in this spirit, I found “Going Abroad” quite disappointing. Maybe because Trebizond was so good, the comparison did lasting damage to this novel. Or maybe because Rose had only one major story to tell. I’ve started now her book “Told by Idiots”, so lets see – and I’ll tell you what I find out. However, for those who are looking for an amazing book by a little-known author, read Trebizond. I think “Going Abroad” will disappoint you.
A final point. I was reading the other day an article that asserted that a novelist only gets worse over time. That their work degenerates. Perhaps this is due to laziness of some authors to rewrite the same story over and over and over again (Harry Potter series comes to mind). Or maybe its because when young and filled with hubris you don’t realize just what a task you are embarking upon, in whose footsteps you are daring to walk by putting pen to paper. The intellectual descendants of Homer and Cicero. Whatever the reason, I don’t agree. I don’t think the order matters at all. Some people write their first masterpiece and never write again. Rose, with Towers of Trebizond, wrote this novel two years before she died as the capstone of a career and it was magnificent. There are no set rules for this sort of thing, it’s about inspiration. And that makes writing even more difficult.