J.B. Priestley is one of those authors that I haven’t read much by but I feel I know I will like. That is purely based on the works of his that I have read / seen, and yes the most memorable of those was An Inspector Calls.
So when I came across his play Eden End, I felt I had to investigate further.
There is something about this play that doesn’t work for me: The story is set in 1912 and yet the young people behave like bright young things of the 1920s and keep telephoning people all the time. That is, when they’re not playing and singing popular music hall numbers.
They’re supposed to be in the company of a traditional family in Yorkshire, but the behaviours put on display seems incredibly modern and somehow seem at odds with the mores of the time.
On top of that, the rebellious daughter married in secret in Australia, has separated from her husband, and no one is batting an eyelid on this revelation, … nor does anyone seem in the least flustered when the estranged hubby (an actor) turns up at the family home unannounced.
This wasn’t even a particularly early play, so I am intrigued whether my expectations were unreasonable or whether Priestley’s work really only took of after a few years of development – similar to that of Graham Greene, with whom, I understand, Priestley had issues.
2.5* (out of 5*)