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The Persephone Book of Short Stories (2012)

por Persephone Books (Editor)

Outros autores: Diana Athill (Contribuidor), Phyllis Bentley (Contribuidor), Elizabeth Berridge (Contribuidor), Margaret Bonham (Contribuidor), Kay Boyle (Contribuidor)23 mais, Dorothy Canfield Fisher (Contribuidor), E.M. Delafield (Contribuidor), Penelope Fitzgerald (Contribuidor), Diana Gardner (Contribuidor), Angelica Gibbs (Contribuidor), Susan Glaspell (Contribuidor), Georgina Hammick (Contribuidor), Norah Hoult (Contribuidor), Helen Hull (Contribuidor), Shirley Jackson (Contribuidor), Katherine Mansfield (Contribuidor), Betty Miller (Contribuidor), Penelope Mortimer (Contribuidor), Irène Némirovsky (Contribuidor), Mollie Panter-Downes (Contribuidor), Dorothy Parker (Contribuidor), Pauline Smith (Contribuidor), Elizabeth Spencer (Contribuidor), Frances Towers (Contribuidor), Sylvia Townsend Warner (Contribuidor), Edith Wharton (Contribuidor), Dorothy Whipple (Contribuidor), Malachi Whitaker (Contribuidor)

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To celebrate having reached their one hundredth volume, here is Persephone's marvellous collection of short stories by women. They are very well chosen: some are by first-rank authors, including Katherine Mansfield, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Parker, Irène Némirovsky and Penelope Fitzgerald; others from well-known writers who have been championed by the imprint and deservedly gained fresh recognition, such as Dorothy Whipple and Mollie Panter-Downes. There are 30 stories in all, and all remarkably unhampered by their time. The first, Susan Glaspell's story of love and lexicography from 1909, seems as bold as the last, by Georgina Hammick (from 1986), though you might not have found such an unflinching description of a gynaecological procedure 103 years ago. Put-upon mothers, exasperated wives, discarded mistresses - shared tropes bind these disparate stories into a coherent whole. A stand-out is Norah Hoult's 1938 story of a wife whose husband is grateful for the money her gentleman friend pays her for sex.… (mais)
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Favourite story so far is "Roman Fever" by Edith Wharton, a perfectly executed story about the perils of hubris, jealousy and pride. The entire plot behind the spoiler, it's worth reading for yourself if you can So two rich ladies are in Rome with their daughters. The more high-flying, confident one and the more dowdy, quiet one. The confident one secretly feels very threatened by the quieter one and always has done, although she pretends to be certain of her superiority. The confident one does however strongly admire the quiet one's daughter. The confident one brings up ancient history, back when they were in Rome as young women, when she tried to hurt the quiet one by sending her an invitation supposedly from the confident one's fiancee but actually written by her, intending to upset her when he doesn't show. But the quiet one tells her he actually did show up, and in the very last line of the story tells the confident one that the daughter she admires so much was fathered by her husband. Written down it doesn't have the same impact, but the reversal of power that slowly takes place through the story as the quiet one gains a confidence while the confident one becomes more fretful is great and the final line is really cleverly done. Good (obviously 100% spoilers) analysis of it here http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/13384/1/13884.pdf

In general the book is just really solid, outside of the one I mentioned it's hard to pick standouts but it's also very hard to think of any I didn't really like. There were a few that I didn't completely "get", had weird endings or whatever but none I was annoyed by or wasn't affected by on some level. All the stories are emotionally engaging and some are really powerful. Most of the stories are about sad things happening or just the grinding misery of every day life - quite a lot are about just the every day life of women, particularly housewives, having to work all day and deal with the emotional burden of children, distant husbands, money stresses etc. The time range of writing (1909-1986, with most of the stories coming from before 1950) gives a fascinating insight into the social changes that went on and the war era stories are particularly good for this.

A few stories I remember as particularly good:

The Test by Angelica Gibbs (1940) - A really short and powerful story about racism at a driving test.
The Exile by Betty Miller (1935) - A rich family get a Russian exile as a new servant but find it difficult to deal with her emotions and history. Great about the callousness of the rich and ease with which we can dismiss people who make us doubt ourselves
A Few Problems in the Day Case Unit by Georgina Hammick (1986) - About a visit to a gynaecologist. The subject and plot is very everyday but the story really gets across the casual indifference and the feeling of the patient being dehumanised and the experience of being a woman forced to confront sexual problems on their own.
Minnie's Room by Mollie Panter-Downes (1947) - very reflective of the social changes at the time, a rich family have to deal with their total dependency on their servant who wants to leave. The social context is fascinating and the attitude of the rich family is funny/sad and very recognisable today still.

There's more good stories I just find it hard to pick which ones are particularly good. But a really great collection I definitely recommend it.

Oh also in case it's not obvious all the writers in this book (and every author published by Persephone) is a woman. There's also a very short bio of each writer in the back of the book, which is helpful. Think the only widely known short story here is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson - it's a good story but would probably have preferred a more obscure work of hers just out of interest in what else she's written. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
Just far too many depressing stories about women who are aging and husbands who are terrible ( )
  krtierney | Mar 13, 2021 |
As a celebration to commemorate their 100th published book, THE PERSEPHONE BOOK OF SHORT STORIES is a great "sampler" of the works that Persephone Books publishes throughout their range. In total, there are 30 individual stories from 28 authors - Dorothy Whipple and Mollie Panter-Downes each have two stories included in this collection. Many of these short stories are available in Persephone Books-published collected works by the individual authors, and this gives the first-time Persephone reader an idea of particular authors from which she/he might be inclined to read more. ( )
  BooksForYears | Jun 26, 2016 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Persephone BooksEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Athill, DianaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bentley, PhyllisContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Berridge, ElizabethContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bonham, MargaretContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Boyle, KayContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Canfield Fisher, DorothyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Delafield, E.M.Contribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Fitzgerald, PenelopeContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gardner, DianaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gibbs, AngelicaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Glaspell, SusanContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hammick, GeorginaContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hoult, NorahContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Hull, HelenContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Jackson, ShirleyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Mansfield, KatherineContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Miller, BettyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Mortimer, PenelopeContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Némirovsky, IrèneContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Panter-Downes, MollieContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Parker, DorothyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Smith, PaulineContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Spencer, ElizabethContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Towers, FrancesContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Warner, Sylvia TownsendContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Wharton, EdithContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Whipple, DorothyContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Whitaker, MalachiContribuidorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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To celebrate having reached their one hundredth volume, here is Persephone's marvellous collection of short stories by women. They are very well chosen: some are by first-rank authors, including Katherine Mansfield, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Parker, Irène Némirovsky and Penelope Fitzgerald; others from well-known writers who have been championed by the imprint and deservedly gained fresh recognition, such as Dorothy Whipple and Mollie Panter-Downes. There are 30 stories in all, and all remarkably unhampered by their time. The first, Susan Glaspell's story of love and lexicography from 1909, seems as bold as the last, by Georgina Hammick (from 1986), though you might not have found such an unflinching description of a gynaecological procedure 103 years ago. Put-upon mothers, exasperated wives, discarded mistresses - shared tropes bind these disparate stories into a coherent whole. A stand-out is Norah Hoult's 1938 story of a wife whose husband is grateful for the money her gentleman friend pays her for sex.

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