Tell It to a Stranger Paperback – 22 Mar 2000
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'One of my favourite Persephone books,' said Charlie Lee-Potter on Radio 4's Open Book, 'is a collection of short stories by Elizabeth Berridge first published in 1947 when she was 28.They are a revelation to me, I was transfixed by the quality of the writing. It seemed to me that they are quite radical stories, they were quite sharp and hard and disruptive as ideas.' In his Preface A N Wilson writes: 'She is a novelist of distinction who is also - and this is a rarity - equally at home in the quite different medium of the short story, with its need for an iron discipline and control. Many of the masters of this genre, carried away by their cleverness, either convey or actually possess the quality of heartlessness. Others - and one thinks primarily of Chekhov - are able to retain the discipline of the medium but suffuse its tight confines with warmth. This is the quality of Elizabeth Berridge's stories which sends us back to them, which makes us read and re-read until they have become friends.'In "The Tablet" Isabel Quigly wrote about Elizabeth Berridge's 'remarkable capacity for taking one inside the world of her short stories and showing what happens to the people, where they belong, what they feel.' She too invoked Chekhov: 'It is there that she should be seen, at the highest level of short-story writing, without stereotypes, without foregone conclusions, with deep humanity and a recognisable voice.'
From the Inside Flap
'"I just want to say," she began, hand now tucked familiarly into her belt, "that we have a special reason for thanking Lady Hayley for being with us tonight." She paused, and her distinguished visitor looked down at her black polished shoes, a shy gesture. "It is this. Yesterday she learned that her son was coming home on embarkation leave. I told her she must not think of coming, but - Lady Hayley won't mind me quoting her words - she told me over the phone, 'I've always said the Red Cross comes first, now's my chance to prove it.' And as her train left the station, her son's train pulled in." Miss Pollett stopped and involuntarily caught the Vicar's eye. He wore an expression she knew well; he had found a subject for his sermon - she must have just given it to him. In his joy he was leading the renewed applause and there were murmurs of sympathy. Lady Hayley smiled and blushed, led the way off the platform and the concert went on.See all Product Description
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The prose evokes rich emotional and physical images. Elizabeth Barridge is a masterful storyteller.
Why isn't she more famous?