Vita Sackville-West it’s not one of the most well-known authors, but her novel “All Passion Spent” is one of the best books I have read recently. This is a wonderful look at old age, but not just the fact that we all get older but rather and analysis of one’s life. In this book we get to examine the life of lady Slane whose husband was a noted British politician and to whom she was married for almost 70 years. The book is divided into 3 sections, the first dealing with the death of Lord Slane and the expectations of her children as to what she is going to do with her life and property. The second part has to deal with the fact that she does not wish to remain in London but rather wants to move to a small community where she fell in love with a little house over 50 years ago. The final section has to do with the people who she meets while she’s living at that small house.
This is a small yet powerful book, a book that is only 174 pages long but it is filled with page after page of insights as to aging and as to feelings that many times are overlooked during ones lifetime. For instance, we find out early on that Lady Slane does not really like her children, nor does she like her grandchildren and great grandchildren are just too noisy! She has had to put her likes and loves behind her after she married Lord Slane and despite a wonderful life there was something missing for her. So this book discusses life, love, passion for arts, and pigeonholing people into certain categories and assuming that they like to be pigeonholed. Yes, Lady Slane was treated royally during her marriage but that’s not exactly what she wanted or desired.
This book reminds me in many ways of the book “Mrs Bridge” by Evan Connell, as well as “The Spectator Bird” by Wallace Stegner. These books examine one’s life and makes the reader sit back and examine their own life. Are we doing what we want to do, are we satisfied with our own life? Personally it’s made me look back at my life and be thankful for all that I’ve had. Every now and then we need to read books like this in order to gain some insight into the lives of others and allow reflection upon our own life. This book is a Classic and it is certainly one to savor. Every page it’s just beautifully written and, for me, contains powerful thoughts and insights into human nature and how we have lived our lives.