A bit of a Cheek?

Mavis Cheek has no regrets leaving Chiswick for the county life


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the


In an engaging interview recently published in The Independent, the novelist and former Chiswick resident, Mavis Cheek, shared anecdotes of 'crap' houses, middle-aged sex and Chiswick living.

Mavis Cheek is so very much more than 'a romantic fiction' writer: her sense of humour and witty observations on love, sex and relationships has won her a legion of avid followers comprising, it has to be said, mainly of women, and has earned well deserved critical acclaim.

Cheek claims to have written her novel, Mrs Fytton's County Life, in an attempt to discourage herself from leaving Chiswick. The main character of the book, Mrs Fytton, devoted her life to helping Mr Fytton build up a successful business, brought up two children and had been a enthusiastic bedroom companion until she was left for a petite blonde called Belinda. At 40 she finds herself alone in Chiswick with two teenage children. Rejected by the local dinner party set as a loose cannon (red meat to husbands, dead meat to wives), her solution is to up sticks and move to a wisteria-clad cottage in the country.

When asked if Cheek wrote the novel from her own personal experience of country living, she responded with an empathic "No!" but went on to say "I had to get out of Chiswick" claiming that the two main turning points were the constant stream of vacant-eyed au-pairs pushing buggies past her window, and the sight of a marquee going up in a neighbouring garden the size of a postage stamp. That, and being asked around to admire someone's gazebo!

January 7, 2004