Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, Elizabeth Buchan


September 2023

I’ve had my eye on this, bought in a charity shop with another Elizabeth Buchan, for some months. I wanted to read it as an exploration of some brilliant writing that gets pushed to the side when newer, younger, more glossy writers emerge. It has to be this way, in some respects. Plenty of writing becomes more of its time and less of the time. We need to publish new stuff. There is so much bloody amazing new stuff out there waiting for an audience.

But I am also finding that a lot of new writing is vibe-y but little else. No doubt it was the same in Buchan’s day. But her writing is brilliant, so rich and thoughtful, heavy with observation and light with movement and energy. Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman was published in 2001 but feels very much of the 90s. It is set in the world of newspapers, where Rose finds herself, in young middle age, a suddenly unemployed literary editor and unwanted wife. It was such a great pleasure to read Buchan’s superbly crafted writing and plot, and reflect on bloody hell how things have changed.

I won’t spoil your chance by getting any closer to what her revenge is. But boy, is it sweet.

Find a second hand copy on World of Books

I might watch this brilliantly cheesy looking TV version on YouTube while I’m writing my Christmas cards