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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Middle class England at war
on 21 April 2001
Mollie Panter-Downes wrote for the New Yorker for over fifty years, and these stories have, until now, never been reprinted. The stories give a wonderful picture of people adapting to the war and the changed circumstances, both social and material, that they find themselves in. The title story poignantly explores the emotions of a woman who has had a long affair with a married man, almost a second marriage, and realises that if her lover is killed, she will have no right to know what has happened, there will just be a deafening silence. In The hunger of Miss Burton, a woman fantasises about food, all the food she can no longer obtain, to compensate for the emptiness of her life. In Goodbye, my love, Ruth spends the last weekend of her husband's leave trying to be cheerful, making plans to keep herself busy while he's away. The news that his leave has been unexpectedly extended shocks her to tears. These stories are full of such insights into the uncertainties of war, particularly for those left behind-mothers, wives, women in all circumstances. They are the kind of short stories which are always too short, there is the seed of a novel in almost every one.