The Lovely Lady by DH Lawrence
from The Virgin and the Gipsy & Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics, 2004)
This short story follows a trio: a mother, her adult son and her equally adult orphan niece. The mother is in her seventies but for some reason, you could make the mistake of thinking her only in her thirties. She’s extremely self-absorbed but oh so “lovely”, and her son is mesmerised by her in ways that border on being disturbing. But Cecilia, the niece, soon realises something is not quite as they appear …
And I won’t go in to details, because that would spoil the surprise!
Only about 15 pages long, there is no time to dawdle. The three characters are introduced, the story is told from Cecilia’s perspective and offers an interesting take on energy vampyrism, which is more of a modern day New Age concept: people who feed on other people’s energies, draining them, sucking them dry. Here, it’s done in a rather literal form – the old lady actually gains youth while draining the life from her son – while normally, it would just be someone you can’t encounter without getting rather exhausted from just being around (and not from running around town shopping or any other mundane and obvious explanations), and so on.
Well, that’s how I interpreted it anyway. Mr. Lawrence was, after all, not a stranger to the more unusual sides to life and living! Perhaps that’s one of the attractions of his writings for me. Haven’t really read enough to know yet!
Speaking of the man himself, he does have a distinct writing style. Sometimes it feels a bit repetetive, but I suppose it’s just a case of rhetoric style. He’s also quite fond of adverbs, which is a bit distracting at times.
I enjoyed The Lovely Lady, and it didn’t quite end the way I thought it would. Always nice to be surprised!
This is my very first review for the DH Lawrence Challenge 2010.