Alfred and Guinevere, James Schuyler

250405Compulsively readable, suitable for the dinner table, this camp novel is set largely in the dialog of two children, a young boy and his (presumably) 14-15ish sister. Are children naturally campy? After all, can’t we say that camp is a funny (or wry? or deliberate: and if deliberate, strike the previous suggestion) version of the uncanny? And what’s more uncanny, and prone to sensations of uncanniness, than a child?

A representative bit, when Alfred wants to add something to the letter Guinevere is writing to their mother. The quote starts with what must be Guinevere:

“…What do you want to tell Mother?”
“Something short so it won’t take me all day and all night to copy it. I’m thinking. I saw five cows. Are there any g’s in that?”
“Wait a sec. No.”
“Think of some more to say with g’s in it. I can print good g’s.”

Imagine contouring your prose according to orthography! Hilarious.

It’s easy to intermingle my memory of this novel with that of The Young Visitors,The Diary of Adrian Mole, and even, as one reviewer dropped below, Catcher in the Rye.