This novel is a stunning, astringent portrayal of a very modern heroine in a classic predicament.
Rosamund Stacey, like the "New Woman" Doris Lessing and Simone de Beauvoir write about, is Emancipated.
A clever, cool, intellectual girl just out of Cambridge University, she has a self-detachment that
shields her all too well from her own emotions. Her well-to-do Socialist parents have so
thoroughly instilled in her the idea of dependence as a fatal sin, that Rosamund lives in a world
quite isolated from reality.
It is almost casually that she loses her virginity to George, a BBC annnouncer, but there is
nothing casual about the result. When it finally occurs to Rosamund that she is indeed pregnant,
a determination quite foreign to her nature and inexplicable to herself strengthens her
resolve to have the child.
This is an old tale told in a new way. The experiences of an unmarried mother caught up
in the assembly-line indifference of the National Health system are limned in acid, but
throughout pathos and near-tragedy are balanced by superbly funny incidents and great wit.
As a cogent review in the London Times Literary Supplement succintly stated, this story
is "not just a tale about unmarried pregnancy ... it is rather the story of the awakening of a
person, the heightening of perceptions and the softening of attitudes."
After being graduated from Cambridge University with honors, Miss Drabble joined
the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford. She is married to the actor, Clive Swift, and has
three small children. The Millstone is her third novel.