Love, Nina Well I certainly do!
First timer (published) Nina Stibbe has presented us with a funny, witty, and oddly wise, collection of letters that paints a vivid and eccentric view of country-girl-meets-big-city. Early school leaver, Nina lands a job as a nanny to the Wilmers/Frears family. Mary-Kay Wilmers (editor of the LRB) lives in Camden, right at the heart of 1980’s cultural centre that Gloucester Crescent and surrounding streets proved to be. Nina finds herself mixing with the likes of Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayn, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, Stephen Frears et al with little sense of who they are and why “we” all know them. The letters to her sister are boldly honest about the trials and tribulations of doing some (unlooked for) growing up in a rarefied cultural milieu.
Disjointed as the letters are, clearly not written with a view to being published, they prove a compelling narrative in a voice that is a delight to listen to. We must thank Nina’s sister for keeping them and once we have enjoyed them we can sit in eager anticipation of the novel that is “promised” in the letters.