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The Tysons

May Sinclair

Book Overview: 

Another frank May Sinclair exploration of fin de siècle English love and sex, marriage and adultery, "The Tysons" is the story of the caddish Nevill Tyson and his beautiful but frivolous young wife Molly. Sinclair uses a different narrative voice than we hear in much of her fiction, a sort of witty Jane Austen archness as she dissects the characters of the provincial village Drayton Parva. As always, she demonstrates an intriguing mixture of Victorian prudishness and modern free-thinking, particularly in her rendering of the sexual escapades of her characters. The step-by-step fragmentation of the Tyson marriage seems predestined from the start, but the novel reveals, as Sinclair's novels always do, a passion for profound understanding of the human comedy and why we do what we do. Even though the story is told from the perspectives of mostly masculine characters, Sinclair uses their voices to shine a stark light on the many ways in which women were victimized at the time by being the chattel of the men in their lives, in particular the denigration of the female intellect in favor of the merely decorative feminine beauty which existed only for the male ego

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .own for a fortnight's hunting, when, in the morning of his last day, Tyson announced his intention of going up to town with him to-morrow. He might be away for three weeks or a month altogether; it depended upon whether he enjoyed himself sufficiently.

Stanistreet, who was looking at Mrs. Nevill Tyson at the time, saw the smile and the color die out of her face; her beauty seemed to suffer a shade, a momentary eclipse. She began to drink tea (they were at breakfast) with an air of abstraction too precipitate to be quite convincing.

"Moll," said Tyson, "if you're going to this meet, you'd better run upstairs and put your things on."

"I don't want to go to any meets."

"Why not?"

"Because—I—I don't like to see other women riding."

"Bless her little heart!" (Tyson was particularly affectionate this morning) "she's never had a bridle in her ridiculous hands, and she talks about 'other women riding.'"

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Community Reviews

She really was an amazing writer, absolutely pitiless. What an absolute rotter Mr Tyson is, makes you squirm. I only gave four stars because I would have liked more of Miss Batchelor.