Ever anxious to keep up appearances, self-avowed intellectual and scholar Nicholas Herrick knows that to involve himself in the running of his own school would be a condescension too far. Assembling around himself a cast of fittingly fawning friends and aides, he sets about unveiling his final masterpiece. Described in contemporary reviews as "a work of genius," Pastors and Masters inaugurated the writing career of an author gifted with a rare skill for characterization and for wry portrayals of domestic scenes.
I received this little novel from the Librarything early reviewers scheme. I was interested in reading a Compton-Burnett novel, as I recently read a biography about the novelist Elizabeth Taylor, and Compton-Burnett was a good friend of hers, and was referred to in the book a great deal.
In the forward to the novel, Sue Townsend suggests that readers might find it a hard read at times, that Compton-Burnett’s style takes some getting used to. The novel is written almost completely in dialogue. I didn’t however find it a difficult read, the style is a little unusual prehaps, but the writing is so very good that it flows easily and makes for a quick and lively read. The characters are quirky fully developed in spite of being written about in a style that one might think doesn’t lend itself to the description of characters, and yet within the great swathes of dialogue there emerges strong and distinct characters. This is the first book by this author I have read, but it probably won’t be the last.