“Smut” by Alan Bennett, Two Unseemly Stories

“Smut” by Alan Bennett (2011)  – 152 pages

 What can I say about “Smut” ? It is different from anything I’ve read before which is a good thing.  The author of “Smut”, Alan Bennett, is a playwright, and it shows.

 Each of the stories in “Smut” has high sexual content but completely different from what you might expect.  I see “Smut” as a fun bright breezy bauble, in no way to be taken seriously but fun.  

 In the first story, “The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson”, the recently widowed sixty-ish Mrs. Donaldson gets bored with her new single life and gets a job play-acting the roles of patients and relatives in a hospital training room for medical students, so the students can practice their bedside manners and diagnostic skills.  This role-playing loosens Mrs. Donaldson up for some sexy fun with her two college-age lodgers.  I won’t tell you what the fun is, but it isn’t what you are expecting.  Here is a short passage from the story with Mrs. Donaldson and her pretend husband Terry preparing for the medical role-playing.

    “Trouble in the back passage,” he said cheerfully.

    “No,” said Mrs. Donaldson. “I don’t think so.”

    “Mine not yours, dear,” said Terry. “You’re just my wife.”

    “I was given to understand.” said Mrs. Donaldson, “that it was your waterworks.”

    “No fear.” Terry hitched up his Y-fronts. “No way.”

    “Frequency,” said Mrs. Donaldson. “Waking at night”

    “Absolutely not. I go before I come to bed and then first thing in a morning. Well you know that.” And he sniggered. “You’re my wife.”

    Mrs. Donaldson took out a folder.

    “I think you’ll find,” said Terry, “it’s the other department. Stools hard and difficult to pass. Occasional blood. All that. I thought I could be very shy, which is why you’re here to hold my hand.”

    “Well, I’m a nurse,” admitted Mrs. Donaldson. “I’m au fait with all the technical terms…bowel, colon, prostate.”

 Anyone who can be this bright and breezy about such unmentionable subjects is a real writer.      

 In the second story, “The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes”, Graham Forbes gets married to a gal named Betty much to the disappointment of his mother and much to the surprise of his boyfriend lovers. 

It is impossible to take either of these stories seriously, and that is a lot of the fun.  I don’t see either of these stories as among the world’s great stories.  They are way too contrived and unbelievable for that.  On their own terms, the stories are enjoyable and quickly read.

 On a scale of 1 to 5, I give “Smut” a ‘5’ for originality, a ‘1’ for sincerity, a ‘4’ for humor, a ‘4’ for construction, and a ‘1’ for realism.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Smut was really enjoyable and not at all to be taken seriously! 🙂

    Like

    Reply

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