Book Reviews - Sallie Eden Book Reviews 2011

Midsummer Night In The Workhouse by Diana Athill

Short stories originally published between 1958 and 1973 in a range of journals including “Glamour” magazine and “Gentlemen’s Quarterly”.

Persephone Books reprints largely forgotten works from the early 20th century. Mostly written by women, the books are printed with grey covers, patterned endpapers and matching bookmarks (in this case the pattern is taken from fabric purchased in the 1970s for the author’s flat).

Twelve short stories which I think would make ideal “Books at Bedtime” on Radio 4, probably read by Barbara Flynn. Stories cover a range of emotions, leaving scope for the imagination.

Verdict: An interesting change from modern writing, despite the familiar themes – relationships, infidelity, humour, ennui. A book to dip into on a rainy evening when you want something not too taxing. ***

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