VG LEE
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Always you, Edina
As you step outside
Diary of a Provincial Lesbian
The Woman in Beige
- extract
The Comedienne

Books : THE WOMAN IN BEIGE - 2003
the Woman in Beige
 

‘The woman looked down her elegant nose at Lorna and Lorna felt the full impact of tanned face, cold green eyes and a weight of beige. As Lorna said to her friend Pat a week later, ‘Time stopped for me, Pat. I’d never liked beige before but this woman looked fantastic in it’.

This was to be her first sighting of the mysterious woman in beige, carrying an equally mysterious pet carrier on the Brighton/London train. At Clapham Junction the woman alights and disappears into the crowd on the platform.

Lorna was returning from visiting her grandmother’s old friends Edna and Lily who live in a cramped flat in Brighton. They had recently been burgled by a woman posing as a double glazing sales person. Strange personal items had been stolen including the kettle and electric blanket - Lorna discovers that also their savings are missing.

Up until then Lorna Tree’s first thirty eight years had been fairly uneventful. She’d lived all her life in the same North London house with her brother David, initially brought up by their grandmother because glamorous parents George and Della just weren’t ‘kiddy people’. Seduced at eighteen by her driving instructress, there’d been a few low key affairs while Lorna waited for a grand passion to materialize, ‘We Trees are like swans - we mate for life.’ She’d shared a deep and meaningful friendship with Kate that from time to time found them in bed together, a passing interest in women like snobbish yet vivacious Theresa Stowell Parker and spent years and years cheerfully chatting to her brother David’s aspirational wife Julie, the neighbours Reverend Joseph and the E Family Robinson, and oldest friend Pat. Suddenly, all change when Dan, the woman in beige enters her life.

’Wouldn’t you agree that Dan is a fine name? Heroic, mystical?’

Another sighting with the pet carrier, getting out of a navy blue Mercedes. ’Dan - possible celebrity vet, probable caring lover, possible...hoodlum?’
Then again, in a pub - playing pool brilliantly as only someone with a name like Dan could. She’s coming closer until at last there she is in Duxford Road, standing outside Lorna’s house.

Jenny Salter, Lorna’s therapist is the only person she can talk to about Dan, telling her, ‘Dan is like a wild sea and I’m trying to make the sea behave like a swimming pool, only I love the sea and would hate the responsibility of a swimming pool’
Does Dan return her love’ And the disturbed yet still vivacious Theresa who seems determined to wreck the relationship. And George and Della with their plans of moving in and replacing David’s countless concealed halogen spotlights with chandeliers. How can she keep her sense of humour? How can she put up with their taste in furniture and fittings?

The Woman in Beige by V.G. Lee review in Time Out

" Lorna Tree is an unprepossessing heroine with her obsessive-compulsive traits (documenting public transport upholstery in her notebook) and downright unbalanced behaviour (documenting public transport upholstery) but V.G. Lee's likeable style means that we warm to her as Lorna's childhood is revealed to have been beset by parents who fucked her up and possibly meant to.

Set in a Stoke Newington that is almost suburban, the background to the story is the usual merry-go round of the incestuous nature of lesbian relationships but, in a cunning plot twist, Lorna falls for the mysterious charismatic 'woman in beige' and falls into a surreal world of bizarre crime before she finally falls out of it again and into reality. I won't say back to reality because that would be misleading.

Old-fashioned in that knowing charity shop-find way, Lee's writing is nevertheless always entertaining and often incisive, especially when dealing firmly with bitter-sweet basic human frailties and counsellors in paisley pantaloon outfits."

The Woman in Beige by V.G. Lee review in The Big Issue

This is a touching tale of Lorna Tree, 38, seduced by a mysterious 'woman in beige' after a brief encounter on a train. At first Lorna's unpredictable, off-kilter personality makes her an unlikely heroine. However as her difficult past is revealed and her character fully develops her adventures become more engaging. Lorna narrates her own story, thus creating a diary-style novel. The plot however, has many unexpected intricacies. V.G. Lee has succeeded in creating an amusing, dramatic lesbian romance and an entertaining read.

The Big Issue

An amusing dramatic lesbian romance and an entertaining read.

Kenric Magazine

A gentle funny lesbian novel with a heroinne I'd love to read about again.

Charlotte Cooper, Rainbow Network

In the same vein as Alan Bennett and Victoria Wood albeit somewhat darker
in tone, V.G. Lee has produced an excellent cast of really rather weird characters
who make you cringe, laugh and quake.

Ingo, Gays the Word Bookshop

V.G. Lee's talnet is that she writes about the little things in life like nobody else

Anne Beech, N16 Magazine

Lady in Beige I adore you.

 

 


Click here to read an extract.

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