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Tell It to a Stranger Paperback – 22 Mar 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd; Reprinted edition edition (22 Mar. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903155045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903155042
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'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.

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Format: Paperback
These short stories, written during the Second World War and just after, are suprisingly raw and sharp. But they are among the best I have ever read. There is a particularly haunting one about a soldier coming home on leave and his Lady Bountiful mother being uninterested in him. I cannot understand why so many people 'don't like' short stories. These are a stunning read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and beautiful 14 Aug. 2008
By J. A. Luckenbill - Published on
Format: Paperback
I loved these stories. They are often dark, but that's understandable considering when they were written (WWII). Sometimes I find short stories difficult to read because they do not "grab" me quickly enough. I didn't find that to be true with these. Berridge has a gift for characterization and for poignantly displaying certain moments in a person's life where things are never the same afterwards. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Prose and Captivating Stories. 2 Aug. 2010
By Barbara - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most beautiful collection of short stories I've read in a long time.
The prose evokes rich emotional and physical images. Elizabeth Barridge is a masterful storyteller.
Why isn't she more famous?
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