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Why haven't I discovered this wonderful writer before?
on 21 March 2017
In rural England in 1920, two teenage sisters – one pretty and confident, the other painfully self-conscious – anticipate and experience the coming-out dance of an aristocratic neighbour.
Lehmann has come up in my reading group’s season of between-the-wars writers. Why have I never discovered her before? This is wonderful stuff. Gripping, sometimes heartbreaking, often funny.
Lehmann was more-or-less a contemporary of Woolf, and I’m guessing the lovely interior-monologue writing was influenced by Woolf, but Lehmann has qualities that Woolf, to my mind, often lacks: narrative drive, pace, humour, fabulous dialogue, and real empathy for people outside her own class. Beautifully assured writing. I don’t understand why Lehmann isn’t spoken of in the same breath as Woolf, instead of being half-forgotten. I shall immediately get the sequel to this one for my TBR pile: ‘The Weather In The Streets’, judged by her grandson (in the foreword) to be her best.