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The Fortnight in September Paperback – 22 Sep 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd (22 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903155576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903155578
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.6 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a delightful novel first published in 1931 - about the Stevens annual fortnights holiday in Bognor. Mr Stevens is a middle aged clerk - his wife a quiet gentle woman who secretly finds this holiday a bit of a strain. Their children, Dick and Mary who are now grown up, and out to work themselves, and Ernie their youngest still a school boy. This is a novel about ordinary people who live small lives, and the things which loom large and have unimaginable importance within that life - such as Mrs Stevens medicinal bottle of port she buys each year on the holiday, and the wearing of comfortable holiday clothes and canvas shoes. This is a charming novel, quite melancholic in some ways - although never sad.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this book with shabby covers in a second hand shop for about 50p, attracted by the title and had no idea what it would be about. It was a surprise to find it was one of the books I have read in a long time.
The family's holiday and all their feelings and thoughts - the excitement of the night before, the journey, arrival, the way time flies yet seems to pass so slowly, is one that is probably shared by most holiday makers, regardless that this book was written over 70 years ago. In that sense it is timeless, because as we see each family members' reflections, I often felt they were voicing my own thoughts and feelings. The Spectator, which reviewed it when it was first published, put it better than I could myself - 'there is more simple understanding and human kindess in this book than anything I have read in years'.
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Format: Paperback
All I can say is that this book was a delight from start to finish; as you read it, you feel almost as if you were living that Fortnight in September in Bognor Regis, the first week moving slowly as all good holidays do ( it takes 100 pages just to make the train journey) and then the days ticking by relentlessly faster until it is time to go home.
The Stevens family are ordinary people, living small lives, making the most of small pleasures like a flagon of ginger beer and hard-won achievements (being able to afford a better class of beach hut, a third-rate private school for their sons). They look forward to their holiday all year and enjoy it all the more for that (how puzzled they would be by the instant gratification of credit cards). Their ambitions are so unassuming that we ache for Mr Stevens when he is passed over for promotion at work, and realises that he will never be more than a clerk in a humdrum job. (What fear there was in those days of losing a job or getting a 'black mark' against one's name.) We ache for 17-year-old Dick, who feels trapped in the 'job for life' that his father has arranged for him. This is a book full of kindness and family loyalty ... Mr Stevens winces when his wife drops an aitch, and wonders wistfully why she has never been more socially adept ... but he loves her and accepts her for herself. The family have returned to the same lodgings every year since the parents' honeymoon; too shabby be comfortable now but they couldn't let down the landlady now she is struggling.
Sherriff once said, 'In a writer the two things that matter above everything else are that he should be keenly, hungrily interested in his fellows, and that he should have the common experience of his time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book. A very simple concept - a story of an ordinary family taking their annual two week holiday in Bognor, a place they have visited many times before, staying in the same boarding house which has grown a little shabbier with each passing year. Everything is organised by father beforehand - even down to the time it will take to get to the station from home. Not much of a story one might think, but it is beautifully written and the minituae described so well that it makes compelling reading. It is the kind of story to lose oneself in and at the end to feel better for having read it. It is a little dated, of course, having been written in 1931, but I loved it nonetheless.
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Format: Paperback
Don't be put off by the apparent slightness or the unglamorous nature of the storyline - I simply cannot imagine this book being anything other than loved. The tale of a nice, normal family going on their usual summer holiday in shabby rooms at an unfashionable resort, it is also an object lesson in the profundity of small pleasures - and indeed in the art of creating a happy family. From their appreciation of the joys of the routine of getting ready to go on holiday, which can be made part of the holiday itself, through the ritual adoption of the holiday clothes, the decision on which beach hut to take and the ekeing out of the jar of ginger beer over the fortnight the Stevens family thoroughly understand the happiness to be obtained in recognising each tiny pleasure, and building it into the greater whole. An object lesson in our credit crunched times of how a much better time may be had in a small quiet way, than by grab and spend!
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. Such a joy to read. I loved the descriptions of the preparation and building excitement and concerns about the holiday. Nothing very significant happens on the holiday but I felt as though I grew to know this kind and thoughtful family very well. Their thoughts and views about every day things are very similar to those we may have today. There is an underlying sadness to the enjoyment of their holiday and I found myself wanting to continue the story once they returned home. Would the son find a more fulfilling job? Would they all go back to the same B&B next year? What changes would the family face over the coming year? Simply wonderful.
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