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Topic: The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

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Subject: The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett
Date Posted: 9/3/2008 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Bennett is a British writer and a master of subtle irony, insight, and wit. I truly enjoyed reading these two short stories. The first one, The Clothes They Stood Up In is fiction and questions how important our possessions are. How they define us and our relationship to all the items we pack in our homes and lives.

 

The second story, The Lady in the Van is superb. Bennett becomes acquainted with an older woman who is living out of her van near his home. He is concerned about her and she eventually comes to park her van (it no longer runs) in his garden where she lives for many years. She is highly eccentric and private. The story includes several vignettes of Bennett’s conversations and observations of her. It is ironic that he almost learns more about her after her death (from a visit to her brother) than he did in all the time she lived in his garden.