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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection of Wonderful Short Stories, 21 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Complete Short Stories (VMC Book 171) (Kindle Edition)
This wonderful edition of Elizabeth Taylor's short stories, with an interesting introduction by the author's daughter, includes not only those stories that have appeared in earlier collections, but also those which have previously only appeared in magazines, mostly the 'New Yorker'. Many of Elizabeth Taylor's stories have an autobiographical basis and she is known for writing about situations she was familiar and comfortable with, however, it is not entirely true that Taylor did not venture out of her comfort zone in her writing, as a few of the stories in this book show.

This complete collection contains over sixty short stories; the ones that are more widely known such as the marvellous 'Hester Lilly' which tells the story of a headmaster's sophisticated wife who suffers discomforting feelings of jealousy when her husband's young, gauche cousin comes to stay; 'The Devastating Boys' where an Oxfordshire couple invite two black boys from the East End to their home to give them an experience of life in the country - the boys cause a fair amount of upheaval, but bring unexpected pleasure and rewards; and a particular favourite of mine: 'Girl Reading' about a teenage girl, the daughter of a financially strapped widow, who goes to stay with a school friend from a much wealthier family, which is particularly good. However, there is also the very different 'The Fly Paper' (described by Taylor as being "rather horrible" whilst adding that she did not think anyone would really like it) which later became a rather chilling film.

Elizabeth Taylor is a wonderful writer; she uses language with a subtleness and sensitivity and she is able to portray her characters and their situations with perception, compassion and humour; she describes the dynamics of middle-class family life in the mid twentieth century particularly well and she appears to have an intuitive understanding of the relationship between women and their children. Like most short story collections, some of these stories are more enjoyable than others, however this is an excellent collected edition to keep by you for when you have a few moments to yourself, but maybe not enough time to get involved in a full-length novel - keep it in the car, by the bedside or next to the sofa; download it on your Kindle or order the attractively covered paperback version, but do treat yourself to one. This is a collection that I shall read, re-read and recommend to friends and relations.

5 Stars.

Also recommended by the same author:The Soul of Kindness (Virago Modern Classics); A View Of The Harbour (Virago Modern Classics); Blaming (Virago Modern Classics) and The Sleeping Beauty
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jul 2012 10:31:55 BDT
Could you please provide a listing by title of all the stories?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2012 11:20:10 BDT
Susie B says:
Hi Clark. If you click on `Look Inside' on the Kindle edition of this book and scroll down the page, you will be able to see a full list of all of the titles - there are over sixty of them! Best wishes. SusieB.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2012 16:41:26 BDT
Thank you.
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