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Herself Surprised

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Joyce Cary wrote two trilogies, or triptychs as he later preferred to call them. The first comprises: Herself Surprised, To Be a Pilgrim and The Horse’s Mouth.

The trilogy (or triptych) is designed to show three characters, not only in themselves, but as seen by each other. Each of the novels is seen through the eyes of a different character, so that each part is complete in itself.

This is the story of Sara. She sees herself as the victim of mysterious events and her own soft heart, whereas to Wilcher (the protagonist of To Be a Pilgrim) she is the devoted and unselfish servant and mistress, and to Gully Jimon (The Horse’s Mouth) a vain, self-deceiving man-catcher.

‘There seems to me more truth of human nature, a profounder understanding of the springs of action in Herself Surprised, than in any novel I have read for long time.’ L. P. Hartley