I love Persephone books – I don’t think I have had a disappointing book yet. For some reason I hadn’t bought one for a while, so I had slipped off the Persephone Biannually list, but when I heard there was a new Dorothy Whipple I had to get it. And then clearly I had to buy another two to get the discount postage – Miss Buncle Married and Fidelity.
Here is the blurb (or what it has on the inside cover – it is an excerpt from one of the stories)…
She sighed heavily and looked unseeingly out of the window, crushed with the boredom of being where she was, of being a widow, of not being invited anywhere for this fortnight. ‘It’s cutlet for cutlet,’ she thought bitterly. ‘I can’t entertain, so no one entertains me now. To think that I should have come to a place like this. After the life,’ she thought, ‘I’ve lived.’
She closed her eyes against the dining room, but opened them again on being addressed by Maud.
‘D’you want the mayonnaise?’ asked Maud truculently, bringing it.
‘Out of a bottle?’ said Mrs Moore. ‘No’.
Maud went out of the dining room, but spoke in a loud voice in the passage outside.
‘It’s a quarter-past two and my afternoon off,’ she said. ‘I’m not going to stand this, so you know, Mrs Pink. I’ve no need to.’
These are beautifully written stories about ordinary (and the occasionally malicious) people. These stories were published between 1935 and 1961 and are of their time and about a certain class (middle) of English society. Don’t assume it is all tea drinking and scone eating – people are people wherever you find them. They are selfish, self-centred, vicious, kind, generous and self-sacrificing.
These novels are for people who are more interested in character than plot.
Here is a review from the Book Snob about one of the stories – Every Good Deed
And another review …