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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Fortnight in September
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on 28 April 2012
This is a gentle story about a family's holiday in Bognor, observing in minute detail their everyday happenings. Hardly sounds a promising basis for a novel, does it........ and yet, this book is exquisitely written, beautifully observed and is touching throughout.
Each of the four older family members is brought face-to-face with recollections of (and reappraisals of) their lives: how the parents met and felt; the father's dashed hopes and missed opportunities; the mother's shyness and resignation to a humdrum life-even on holiday; the son's realisation that he had to break away from the dead-end job initiated by his father; and the daughter's first romantic experiences. All unwinding against the backdrop of "Seaview" and its landlady in distress.
The book conveys a sense of great intimacy, and, strangely, from time to time, I found myself reminded of the Updike Rabbit Angstrom quartet, written a generation later and set 3000 miles away!
I read this book in the Persephone re-print, the quality of which added to my enjoyment.
10 people found this helpful
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on 31 March 2016
Charming book. The deceptively simple plot about a family holiday to Bognor Regis in 1930 hides an insightful study of manners and a celebration of the ordinariness of life. A lovely little glimpse into days when everyday life was much more simple, but not without its own little adventures.
4 people found this helpful
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on 15 February 2018
This book is like an old pair of comfy slippers, insightful and inticing as it is about how we all used to holiday by the sea in Britain with a bucket and spade and if you were lucky a bathing cabin. Beautifully observed, nicely written and on the whole rather satisfying. Not a book for somebody who needs adventure and action but perfect for a winter's evening curled up in front of a fire imagining the summer to come.This could not be more opposite to his tour de force play Journeys End which I found so moving and tragic.
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on 10 February 2018
A delightful read. RC Sherriff explores the characters in a very kindly way, noticing their quirks and follies but also presenting their good intentions. It's a very realistic picture of family life and times. Nothing much happens, but everything happens. No sensationalism, and yet some deeply significant events for each of the family during their two weeks of annual holiday in Bognor Regis. Written to please himself, without an intention to publish, it pleases the reader too!
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on 22 August 2013
This book was a best seller in its time - the 1930s, but sadly has been long forgotten. It is an excursion into another era with gentler manners and lower aspirations. The story is an account of an unremarkable fortnight's holiday in the seaside town of Bognor which was at the time popular and held with fondness. The story follows an ordinary family from London preparing for this highlight of their year, it shows us the way they relate to one another, and their individual thoughts and experiences whilst away from the routine of their normal lives. R.C. Sherriff captivates the imagination and tells the story with such tenderness that he manages to bring a lump to the throat over little incidents that happen. His writing style makes reading easy, and although the story was written 80 years ago the language is not dated so as to alienate the reader. If this book were to regain popularity I am sure it would become a favourite for many, as it now is for me.
2 people found this helpful
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on 14 August 2017
It was a beautiful book to read to my wife who has a serious degenerative terminal condition when complicated plots would be elusive to her providing delightful invites into aspects of the human personality. Would relish finding more books like it.
3 people found this helpful
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on 7 August 2010
A Fortnight in September is about an uncomplicated family; mother, father and three children, doing normal things. This remarkable novel charts a day to day account of their annual holiday to a B & B in Bognor, from the last evening at home until the day they pack their bags for their return; a poignant tale of simple pleasures and aspirations.

Despite the modest subject matter, R.C. Sherriff's (1931) story is a precious piece of social history and a neglected literary gem. As the British seaside changed little between the 1930s and 1950s, until the introduction of Holiday Camps and Packaged trips abroad, I was whole-heartedly able to relate to this story. I loved the surveillance of a bygone era, the indulgent nostalgia, the 'down to earth' style of writing and understated language that perfectly matched the unassuming family within the pages. Oh how I miss the Stevensons already!

If this novel began as a study in contemporary ordinariness, it has now become a cherished period piece. And if you appreciate the unique observations, quality and style of Margaret Forster or Alan Bennett (minus doom & gloom) you'll thoroughly enjoy 'A Fortnight in September'
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on 20 December 2012
I first learned about this superb novel after reading a social history of the 1930s and of its phenomenal success with such a simple storyline. When I got hold of a copy I found that I fully understood why it was so successful in its day. The straightforward tale of the Stevens family and their fortnight’s holiday in Bognor may sound pretty unexciting but I loved every single page. I kept putting the book down as I didn’t want it to end too soon just like the Stevens’ holiday. I empathised so totally with the family and their unpretentious desire to have a holiday just as they had done so for years. The fact that as the holiday progresses various members of the family have small life-changing experiences makes you realise that things will never quite be the same again. With every chapter I kept thinking, “Yes, that’s just how I’ve felt in the past.” I loved the book so much I kept hoping there might be a sequel as I so much wanted to learn more about the Stevens family. It would make a great television adaptation. I would recommend it for all the family. I cannot praise ‘The Fortnight In September’ enough – funny – moving and utterly absorbing.
3 people found this helpful
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on 7 May 2014
from the foreword it is clear that R.C. Sherriff set out to write in simple prose about ordinary people - he suceeded and in the process wrote a touchingly beautiful tale about the kind of people usually overlooked in literature of this era. they are not aristocrats or artists or bohemians they are a normal, proud, working family going on holiday. by studying them the writer allows the reader to see the complexity of every life. One of my favourite books - well done Persophone Books, another great find in a stunning format, their books remind you of why a kindle isn't always the answer!
2 people found this helpful
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on 20 December 2013
An amazing book, we read it and it has become an absolute favourite. Story is of an ordinary family from London going on holiday to Bognor in 1930, at the time when Bognor held a place of affection in English hearts. The author manages to make ordinary events surprisingly moving - lovely. And his characters are so well developed without many words which is really good writing. R C Sherriff wrote the hugely successful play "Journey's End" about the First World War.
2 people found this helpful
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