Friday, September 10, 2010

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is I Capture the Castle (1948) by Dodie Smith.

Dodie Smith's first novel transcends the oft-stodgy definition of "a classic" by being as brightly witty and adventuresome as it was when published over sixty years ago.

Lovingly passed down from generation to generation and long unavailable in American stores, I Capture the Castle has become one of the most requested items of used book dealers. However, in the author's native England, the novel has never been out of print.

I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over a six-month period, first in a sixpenny book, then in a shilling book, and, finally, in a splendid two-guinea book, to hone her writing skills. And it is within these pages that she candidly chronicles her encounters with the estate's new, young, and handsome American landlords, the effects of her sister Rose's marital ambitions, her writer's-blocked father's anguished and ultimately renewed creativity, and her own hopeless, first descent into love.

By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"--and the heart of the reader--in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments.

Did you know? Dodie Smith also authored The Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Have you read this classic?

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