Friday, 5 August 2022

Forgotten Book - With No Crying

Abortion, kidnapping, squatters, under-age sex. The ingredients of a cutting-edge novel of today? Well, perhaps, but they also form the core elements of a novel published way back in 1980. With No Crying is another of Celia Fremlin's remarkable novels of suspense and, as usual, almost all the main characters are women. Strong women, weak women, jealous and malicious women (she was especially good at chronicling vindictiveness between so-called female friends). It is perhaps hard for a male reader to judge some of these characterisations fairly, but for me Fremlin was one of the finest suspense novelists of her era.

In this story, Miranda Field is a dreamy fifteen year old who, along with her pal Susan, fantasises about boys she doesn't know. When a 'chance encounter' with the object of her affections is contrived, the result is a brief sexual encounter which results in her becoming pregnant. Her parents are left-wing progressives, but although, on the surface, they seem supportive, in fact their attitude is selfish. Fremlin was herself a left-wing progressive by instinct, and her portrayal of the Fields is all the more convincing because one suspects that she knew many people like them in real life.

Miranda agrees, very reluctantly, to have an abortion, but she is embittered by her parents' treatment of her. Before long, she runs off and ends up in a squat with a number of idealistic young people. But she pretends that she is still pregnant, and this deception has alarming consequences.

This is a short book, but it is unpredictable and it packs a punch. There's a good twist, which as the blurb says, is carefully foreshadowed. The story is a good one but really it's the presentation of the characters that makes it stikc in the mind .Definitely worth reading.

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