(Planet Me)
Sunday, July 31, 2011
 
Alan Bennett SMUT


In his old age, Bennett offers Smut. What a strange choice. The issue of sexuality is rarely explored in terms of fiction, and even more rarely in terms of aging and identity. As we age, and we change, and our worlds change and evolve around us, and responsibilities change who we are and the worlds we live in and the way we see the world, our identity – made of many parts, light and dark, good and bad, work, not work, love and life – all these elements co-exist to create some form of person, and often, we only know one part of these identities, one fraction of ourselves. To an extent, these stories are dangerously pedestrian on paper – the form of and weight of life's expectation crushing us, and the change in circumstances liberating the repressed now-divorced housewife, or the man trapped in the mundanity of a life that once was almost exciting, but Bennett uses them to explore our lives and the gap between who we think we are, who we are, and who life makes us be with an explicit, and Northern frankness that is not so much shocking as naked.

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