DATE READ: April 2011
NOTES: I had forgotten how funny Michael Frayn’s writing could be. Towards End of the Morning is a comic novel set in a newspaper office in the 1960s – a cross between The Observer and The Guardian. Much of the story is very funny – the pre-TV programme meal could have been straight out of Monty Python – but there are also some dark undertones of ambition, job security and jealousy. Frayn is very prescient about celebrity culture and the middle-class angst about getting one’s children into the “right” school.
In many ways this book is “a blast from the past”. Mrs Mounce recommends the wearing of a roll-on, suitcases have no wheels, flat-dwellers shared a bathroom, and it was not the done thing to have your girlfriend stay overnight. All that, and the non-stop smoking and drinking make it very much a period piece.
An odd thing is how little work anyone seems to be doing…..I did wonder how any newspaper actually got printed. There are some sympathetic characters but others are appalling. Comparisons have been made with Waugh’s Scoop – and rightly so.