- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (1 Jan. 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349114080
- ISBN-13: 978-0349114088
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Sidmouth Letters (Abacus Books) Paperback – 1 Jan 1988
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A fresh and huge delight... deliciously barbed. (GUARDIAN)
The economical exactitude of her observation makes each of these eleven stories a keen pleasure. (DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Brilliantly observed... moving. (THE TIMES)
... combines an extraordinary vivid imagination with a felicity of expression, a hugely developed sense of the absurd, and the ability to involve a reader's emotions with her characters in a few pages. (EVENING STANDARD)
She does fiction as it should be done, with confidence and insight (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Observer)
Jane Austen's love life- long the subject of speculation- is finally, delightfully dealt with in the title story of this collection. Many of the other stories, like 'The Sidmouth Letters,' bring together past and present- with sometimes hilarious, sometimes disturbing, often intensely moving results. With quiet elegance and devastating accuracy, Jane Gardam probes many and varied lives. We meet a trio of Kensington widows, mean-spirited and middle-aged, paying improbable tribute to a long exploited nanny; we await- with dread- a stranger to tea in an Engliish home; we witness the mercurial changes that take place in young love, and we watch as a bohemian, passionate past returns to tempt domestic bliss.See all Product description
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"Didn't old Dench love cocktail parties... And Prague? I used to let her stand with the children just out of sight on the landing - the Ambassador was so good about staff - and watch all the people. The children were such angels with Dench. And she had them so beautiful."
But they get their comeuppance at the end of the story when they learn that she had a very rich lover from among their number who left her a fortune. The condescending are neatly condescended to by her last Will and Testament in a most satisfying ending.
All of the stories collected here are delightful, as Gardam performs with grace, charm and wit. Her dialogue is always well-judged, her characters seem very real, and what is more she is one of the best writers I know whose tone is so faultless that she invariably ends her stories in the right place and with the right note.
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