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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and full of wry humour, 23 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Donnes (Persephone Classics) (Paperback)
I rarely choose short stories, as novels always seem so much more absorbing, but these I loved. Mollie Panter-Downes was a journalist with The New Yorker, so the collection starts and ends with a `Letter from London' - 3 September 1939, the day war was declared, and 11 June 1944, shortly after D-Day.

The 21 stories between provide a fascinating insight into the way ordinary people carried on their lives during the war years. Setting takes second place to character in these stories, and the author has a wonderful knack of summing up a person in a few brief words so that you have a real sense of knowing them and of understanding how they feel about what is happening around them.

These are not stories of the front line or the fighting. They're stories of those left behind to carry on as best they can, adjusting to new lifestyles, and not knowing what is happening to their loved ones, all the time wondering whether things will ever be the same again. In many ways they never will. Friends and lovers will be lost, homes will be bombed, and the spirit of camaraderie that helped keep people going will dissipate, never to be regained. But these stories are far from depressing. Mollie Panter-Downes writes with wry humour and irony that makes you smile. The style might seem old-fashioned to younger readers who may never have encountered the sorts of characters portrayed in these pages, but don't let that put you off. The stories are as fresh today as they were when they were written and can be enjoyed by everybody. Thoroughly recommended!
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Location: Scotland, UK

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