Trisha's Reviews > Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes

Good Evening, Mrs Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes
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's review
Jan 29, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read in February, 2010 — I own a copy

This is the first book I've ordered from Persephone books in London ( it won't be the last. They reprint "neglected classics" by 20th century women (and a few men)like this one by Mollie Panter-Downs who was the New Yorker's London correspondent during the war. Her "Letters from London" were published from 1939 - 1945. The New Yorker also published a series of 21 short stories which were also written during the war years. This beautifully bound book from Persephone Books contains all 21 of those stories in chronological order, beginning and ending with two of her letters from London (the first dated September 3, 1939 and the last one dated June 11, 1944.) The stories in this collection all capture aspects of the ordinary lives of British people from a wide variety of occupations and social positions as they get on with the harsh realities of living during wartime. Although there's a definite element of heartbreak in some of the stories, none of the characters are sentimentalized. In fact what comes across most strongly isn't necessarily the heartbreak of war as much as the circumstances people found themselves facing in the course of simply getting themselves through the difficult business of living their ordinary lives in the midst of extraordinarily chaotic times . A further note about Persephone books: They always include a preface and afterward with additional information about the author, her life and her work. And the books are beautifully and elegantly presented in between endpapers that reproduce graphic designs of the period. In this case they were taken from a textile design for a printed dress fabric of the 40's, called "coupons."
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message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda Even when I haven't been crazy about the book, I still love those endpapers. I also discovered that regular mail is just as quick as airmail and sometimes proved faster. Also, UW library has some of the titles if you have a library card. I keep meaning to get one but have not done so yet.

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