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THE PROVINCIAL LADY IN LONDON Hardcover – 1933


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HARPER & BROTHERS (1933)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006AM88G
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,944,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Simon Thomas VINE VOICE on 13 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
I first came across E M Delafield in a combilation of sketches from the 1930s - and I then turned to her Provincial Lady series.
Words cannot describe the brilliance of these novels - this one (known to many as The Provincial Lady Goes Further) is unquestionably my favourite.
The first novel was clever, and in many ways her best, but the second has lost the tension of the first book. The last two, whilst good, rather lapse into autobiography and staidness in places.
This book is one of my favourite, and I'm very glad it has been brought back into print.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R M Holcroft on 17 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The provincial lady series by E M Delafield are some of the finest comic writings of the twentieth century. I was first introduced to these by my mother when I was sixteen and devoured the books as quickly as I could. Recently I have re-read them and now being of the same age as the horoine, and in the same sort of situation (without the luxury of household staff) find them funnier and more appealing than ever.

The heroine (whose name we never learn) relates the habitual pitfalls and triumphs of her life in a diary form. Detailing her life, neighbours and friends she comes across as self depracating and extremely personable - exactly the sort of person one would like as a next door neighbour. Her situations are those known to all and therefore wonderfully easy to read dealing as they do with the mundane everyday trivia (from walking to the post office to deliver a letter, to getting a new hair do). Comedy can date very quickly, but, like Faulty Towers, these books have a timeless quality.

Delafield can capture the essense of everyday activities and relate them in hilarious detial - so easily identifiable to today. It is extremely important that you buy this series of books, then retreat with them to your desert island.
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By Henrietta on 25 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have known and read and re-read this book for years and bought this new copy to replace my tattered version. It is what the description says it is.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Diary of a Mad Housewife 4 Oct. 2006
By Kevin Killian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm reading the US version which for some reason is called THE PROVINCIAL LADY IN LONDON (instead of GOES FURTHER, as in the original). Well, I can see why the publishers decided to change the name, but it's a shame in a way, and also rather confusing, for many of the best parts of the novel take place not in London at all, but at the seashore, out in the country, travelling here and there and especially during a writers' conference in Brussels, Delafield's account of which is a tiny masterpiece of xenophobia and possibly the funniest bit in the book.

I never read the first one, just landed on this, and I can see why people so admire the author, who conjures up an irresistible atmosphere of wit and embarrassment, and has made herself the butt of most of the jokes, so that she nowhere fits in, and always winds up feeling ridiculous. Her opposite number is a schoolfriend who has kept her girlish looks and sex appeal far beyond their selling point, yet who manages still to turn heads everywhere she goes, a selfish and avaricious woman in a way, but one to whom our narrator still looks for excitement and reflected glamor: she never puts her down fully, she remains as marvelous as she herself believes she is--she's the immortal "Pamela Pringle," so often married that the narrator can never remember what her current surname is.

Meanwhile the verbal texture of the novel, imitating as it does the telegraphese of a shorthand diary, eliminates most articles like "the" or "a," and in fact gets rid of "I" most of the time, as though she were trying to write as much as possible in an abbreviated space. So the complexities of each sentence reflect, i suppose, the modernist and surrealist chic of the day like Gertrude Stein, Mina loy, Nancy Cunard, etc. "Should like to deny violently having ever taken any advice of Miss P's at all, or even noticed that she'd given it, but she goes on to say that I ought to pay more attention to Style--and I diverge into wondering inwardly whether she means prose, or clothes. (If the latter, this is icredible audacity, as Miss P's own costume--on broiling summer's day--consists of brick-red cloth dress, peppered with glass knobs, and surmounted by abominable little brick-red three-tiered cape, closely fastened under her chin.)"

Adding to the difficulty of the book is the fact that Arthur Watts' cunning illustrations are set in plates pages and pages after the incidents they illustrate, so you feel yourself constantly pulled back into the past narrative just when you should be churning forward. It's bizarre (but must be some hangover from primitive printing processes)? And not a problem for Provincial fans.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Urbane and amusing 14 May 2003
By Stefanie N - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Provincial Lady books are fictitious diaries and as such, are written in abbreviated phrases, memos to the writer herself. This type of writing does get a bit monotonous, but the content, the account of an almost famous writer from one of England's southern counties (before WW II) is very diverting. Having achieved a modest success with her first diary, the Provincial Lady is now invited to international literary conferences, but must cope with the fact that she is still an unknown, and is often forced to fake acquaintanceship with books she hasn't read. Although her literary agent waits eagerly for her latest book (necessitating the renting of a London flat in order to have uninteruppted time to write) she still deals with an embarassing lack of funds in her bank account. This oscillation between the trajectory of her career and the earthbound concerns of money and child-rearing constitute a major theme. Anyone who has ever had to balance career and, say, laundry, will get a kick out of the conundrum. A witty read by an engaging writer equipped with senses of irony and absurdity. Imagine Erma Bombeck transplanted to 1930's England, and I think you'll get some idea of our heroine.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Utterly delicious, not to be missed 27 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Provincial Lady series are classics of social comedy and anyone who has not already discovered them is in for a treat. EM Delafield was a successful lady author who publised a weekly diary in Time and Tide which was a masterpeice of social comedy. END
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tale of mothering, fulfillment, and employment that translates well to our modern times 26 Mar. 2011
By jessbcuz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm addicted to these books. The first in this series sat on my shelf so long I forgot how it landed there (I must have read about it somewhere but have no memory of what, when, or where), but in a random grab one rainy day I was hooked. After finishing that volume (in two days flat), I quickly got online and ordered up the next, The Provincial Lady in London. And it was more of the same--in a good way.

I love the fast-paced style that whisks us through her day and her thoughts as she deals with the in and outs of being a woman of limited means trying to write and run a household. As a thirty-something mother of two school-aged children myself (who also loves to write), I identified a more than a little bit with her, having experienced many of the more domestic travails she describes, and definitely the balancing of self with motherhood. Although definitely situated in a distinct place and time (English countryside between the wars), this book translate well to the concerns and dilemmas of the modern middle-class working mother (except perhaps her ongoing issues about servants--that is just not an issue most of us have these days). Humorously, E.M. Delafield looks carefully in this volume at how one can be both a mother, wife, and find intellectual fulfillment and employment outside the home. Of course it helps immeasurably that her children attend boarding schools, but there is much to be gleamed from this book nonetheless.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very Cosy Read 3 Feb. 2014
By Rosalie Stoland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of E.M. Delafield's Provincial Lady series. They can sometimes be hard to find at the library and was glad to see this one on Amazon to add to my book shelves.
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