Alan Bennett has been hailed by critics as a “chronicler of English ordinariness’ and for his uncommon ability to pierce through the mundane scenarios, or seemingly acceptable behaviors, of his characters and reveal both the tragedy and humor which lies beneath.
For Susan, the tediousness of life as a vicar’s wife has settled heavily on her shoulders in Bed Among the Lentils. She doesn’t feel cut out, or even equipped, for the responsibilities of her ecclesial life and has serious doubts about God anyways. Her humor and doubt often find themselves combined in her sarcasm, but also betray an unshakable sadness and loneliness – “so long as you run a tight jumble sale you can believe what you like.”
Mr. Bennett is not one to offer a Hollywood happy ending, there is no fairy godmother for Susan, instead he offers a realistic portrayal of of life and the possibility of redemption for which we are all looking.