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Christmas at High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC Book 705) [Kindle Edition]

Angela Thirkell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Originally published in the 1930s and 1940s and never before collected, these stories by the incomparable Angela Thirkell relate merry scenes of a trip to the pantomime, escapades on ice, a Christmas Day gone awry, and an electrifying afternoon for Laura Morland and friends at Low Rising, not to mention the chatter of the arty set at a London private view. Charming, irreverent and full of mischievous humour, they offer the utmost entertainment in any season of the year.

Product Description


Laugh-out-loud funny and filled with memorable and realistically flawed characters (Stylist)

Charming, very funny indeed. Angela Thirkell is perhaps the most Pym-like of any twentieth-century author, after Pym herself (Alexander McCall Smith)

To be so witty and charming yet also so brilliantly brusque and practical as Laura Morland is my new year's resolution (Pippa Wright, author of The Foster Husband)

Hours of laugh-out-loud entertainment for all ages (The Lady)

These stories are a seasonal delight ... they will provide hours of laugh-out-loud enjoyment for all ages (The Lady)

Book Description

An exclusive, never-before-collected selection of sparkling stories by Angela Thirkell that will charm, delight and entertain.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 912 KB
  • Print Length: 161 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0349004307
  • Publisher: Virago; Reprint edition (21 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #134,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) wrote many works of fiction and non-fiction, including twenty-nine 'Barsetshire' novels, which won her great popularity and acclaim. The first of these, High Rising, was published in 1933. Her relatives included Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her godfather was JM Barrie. She was twice married and had four children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing collection of short stories 6 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very disappointing book, even for a fan who has read and reread all of her other books. First of all, it's mis-titled. It's a book of 8 short stories published in various magazines between 1928 and 1942, most of which have nothing to do with Christmas.The stories that do involve High Rising with Tony Morland and George Knox as key characters seem to be caricatures of caricatures. And "The Private View" I found incomprehensible. I really enjoyed only two: "Shakespeare Did Not Dine Out," which spoofs dinner parties in his plays, and "A Nice Day in Town," which is about the frustrations of life in England in 1942 when you could buy almost nothing and none of the fish seemed fresh.

I bought this book having been warned by Amazon reviewers that it was short and not her best work. But being a fan, I bought it anyway. And I'm sorry I did. Most of the stories read as if Thirkell was contracted to write for a magazine and had to come up with something to meet a deadline. If you must own everything AT wrote, then I guess like me you will buy it. But if you have never read anything of hers, please, please do not start here. Get one of her earliest novels which are simply delightful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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Angela Thirkell is little known but writes with elegant and sly wit, describing the improbable inhabitants of High Rising, including the irrepressible Tony, mostly set in 1930's England. Some of the stories are set elsewhere but the deft touch of Mrs. Thirkell in rendering the absurdities of modern life into comedies of manners is unexcelled. Like spun sugar the stories melt on the mind and leave it hungry for more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NICE LITTLE SAMPLE! 18 April 2014
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As a newcomer to Angela Thirkell, this little book is a good first read to get the flavour of High Rising and the characters therein. I have also read the first novel, High Rising, so far, and I very much like Mrs. Morland and her son Tony, who is quite an upfront schoolboy, especially when it comes to trains and his model railway, etc. There is a good cross-section of residents in the villages that make up the storylines. Reading an author from a past period is always interesting as it is also of historical interest, too.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas at High Rising 7 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Seven short stories and an essay about dinner parties in Shakespeare's plays make up this amusing selection of Angela Thirkell's writing. Both my mother and grandmother loved reading this author and I have read some of her work many years ago. It is good to see that her work is starting to be available again in e-book format and may thus reach new audiences.

These stories feature Tony Morland at various ages as well as his mother, Laura - a novelist, and the irascible biographer, George Knox. Love him or hate him, Tony Morland, the archetypal know it all school boy provides several amusing incidents in this lively collection of stories originally published in the nineteen thirties and forties.

My particular favourites in this collection are the first story - `Pantomime' and `A Nice Day in Town'. In `Pantomime' George Knox is full of the Christmas spirit and decides to take a party of children to the pantomime with predictable results. `A Nice Day in Town' sees Laura Morland battling with rationing and a series of errands on a trip to London. This collection is an entertaining and relaxing read showing ways of life which have virtually disappeared in the twenty first century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing collection 8 Feb. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a set of eight pieces, most of which are set at High Rising, the home of Laura Morland. It's a very slim volume and of the stories, two are very weak (the ones not set at High Rising, proving that Thirkell was right to remain loyal to Barsetshire in her novels) and a third is a non-fiction humorous essay on Shakespeare.
I loved the best of the stories though, especially Pantomime and St Valentine's Holiday. It's nice that Stoker the char lady has a bit of fun too, instead of remaining inside all the time. Here she joins the children, sliding along the frozen lake.
In the last installment, A Nice Day in Town, there is a hint of sadness as, towards the end and despite the jokes, we realize that Tony is a train-mad schoolboy no longer. A thin volume - I wish it were more chubby like Laura or indeed as stout as Stoker - but despite the acerbity, some of these tales are warm and witty mini-masterpieces and indeed it would be mean to deprive Laura, her family and friends of a Yuletide present of five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book 12 Jan. 2014
By spri
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, the plot, the period in which the story takes place and the fact that this was a new author for me with more books to read! Always a great discovery!
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