The Victorian Chaise Longue by Marghanita Laski

“…sin changes, you know, like fashion.”

TitleThe Victorian Chaise Longue
Author: Marghanita Laski
Genre: fiction
ISBN: none (for this particular edition)
Length: 119 pages
Published: 1953
Source: public library
Rating: 2/5

Reason for Reading: I read a review of it on Natalie’s blog Coffee and a Book Chick (post here) and I thought it sounded interesting. I meant to read it in September or October for the RIP challenge, but I didn’t get to it in time. Still had it from the library, so I thought I’d go ahead and read it anyways.

Summary (from Goodreads): 

Melanie Langdon, the charming, childish wife of a successful lawyer, falls asleep one afternoon on her Victorian chaise longue, recently purchased in an antique shop, and awakes in the fetid atmosphere of an ugly, over-furnished room she has never seen before. This is the story of a trip backward in time in which nostalgia for the quaint turns into a hideous nightmare.

My Thoughts: I didn’t particularly care for this story. I didn’t dislike it, but I feel I’m leaning more to the dislike than the like side of neutral. I think the story pretty much has no point–it doesn’t really go anywhere. I liked that Melanie went back in time into, what seemed to her, a pretty nightmarish world–I know I’d probably react the same way as her, if I found myself 100 years in the past. Perhaps had the ending to the story been more definitive I would have thought the story came full-circle. But the ending was inconclusive as far as Melanie staying in the past or returning to her present (at least the way I read it). It wasn’t as creepy as I had thought it would be, but it was definitely no happy-go-lucky story either.

Memorable Quotes/Passages:

It was no sin for Melanie, she explained carefully, because the customs were different; sin changes, you know, like fashion. (p111)

I found that particular quote to be quite insightful. Speaking of specific sins, this is quite true. The women of 100 years past would find the way modern women dress to be quite sinful, for example.

Thoughts on the Cover: I picked the slightly dilapidated picture of the cover because it is the cover of my library edition. Now, my book doesn’t actually have the dust jacket, but from the book behind the jacket that I see in the photo, I know it’s the same edition. And I think it’s an interesting cover!

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2 thoughts on “The Victorian Chaise Longue by Marghanita Laski

  1. Oh, no! 😦 I loved the ambiguity behind it and felt the intensity behind it was intriguing. As it’s only 99 pages, it definitely leaves a lot of room for interpretation, though!

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