First published in 1978, and widely considered to be the sequel to her masterpiece ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’, this remarkable book further established Smart’s reputation as a brave and inspirational writer.
A still beautiful woman, 31 years old with four children by a faithless lover, cannot break the habit of expectation. She must learn to submit to the cold, bare, unglamorous tenets of reality – the untenable position of love. She must learn to deflect Grand Passion into an acceptance of the rogues and rascals with their radiant faces, who buy her a bitter with borrowed cash. Out of a passionate youth, through pain and harsh revelation, she has attained a maturity – a certain knowledge that the cost of rapture is high and that there is no looking back.
Hers is a voice that distils a woman’s determination for survival – a voice that rises up from everyday life, from the bus queue, the Underground, the pub – and in Elizabeth Smart’s hand is wrought into something magnificent.
Reviews of The Assumption of the Rogues & Rascals
- ‘Smart writes like an angel. Again and again a vein of pure poetry opens in this little book’ The Times
- ‘Welcome back to Elizabeth Smart. Sometimes an echo of Beckett breaks into her soliloquy, but more often her prose has a strong female beat, an earthy indifference’ Daily Telegraph
- ‘At its best, reading Smart’s writing on love is like standing in front of a blast furnace’ The Times
- ‘Some Audenesque echoes occur, as do nods towards Joyce, or perhaps Beckett. But it is Smart’s ability to encompass the whole modern female reaction to the male ordered world, matched in British women novelists perhaps only by Fay Weldon, that impresses most’ Sunday Times