In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, girlsown-
>I don't think it's condescending. I don;t think anyone has ever in her
>life treated Karen as a fluffy little thing - she's always been The Eldest
>and expected to be sensible, seen at school and at home as Intelekshul so
>she OBVIOUSLY doesn't have any girly features (perish the thought), etc
>etc. Of course she's going to love private pet-names and being looked
>after by an older man who takes the father role that her true father has
>never been there to fill. And no, I don;t think there's anything remotely
>off-colour about that, BTW. There have always been marriages where the
>partners take the parent/child roles, so to speak. You only have to look
>at elderly widows who are absolutely helpless when their husbands die
>because they've never had to take real responsibility for anything.

Thinking it over, though, marriages tend not to be long blissed-out joys
in AF's world for any of her characters.  There are the Marlows,
separated by sea; there are the Merricks, who seem to snipe at each
other pretty steadily; there are Kay and Edwin; there are Esther's
parents - no more need be said; there are Miranda's parents, and her
nice father and difficult mother.  It seems the happiest of these is the
Marlow parents, but then AF is saying that marital happiness is
contingent on perpetual separation.  AF wasn't married herself; perhaps
she cast a cold eye on the rest of us.    

Having said that, Fen's account seems dead right.  But it makes me sorry
for Edwin.  
Diane Purkiss
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