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The Fortnight in September

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  798 ratings  ·  151 reviews
The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the da ...more
Paperback, Persephone Book #67, 326 pages
Published 2006 by Persephone (first published 1931)
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  • The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff
    The Fortnight in September

    Release date: Sep 07, 2021
    “The most uplifting, life-affirming novel I can think of...everyday living has rarely been captured more delicately" - Kazuo Ishiguro ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 50 copies available, 1587 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: May 30 - Jun 29, 2021

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    Julia Done. You can always leave a message in the GR Librarian Group when you come across something like this. Luckily I saw it in my newsfeed. :)

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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.24  · 
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     ·  798 ratings  ·  151 reviews


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    Umut Rados
    Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This was literally a slice of life of a family going on holidays to seaside.
    It was so cute & well written. Almost nothing happens in terms of plot. But, I felt I was invited to the ordinary life of a family, and it was very relaxing.
    If you're a person who likes heavy plot driven books, maybe this isn't for you.
    Otherwise, I really enjoyed it for what it is.
    ...more
    Jane
    Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
    The Fortnight In September. The two weeks when the Stevens family left their South London home for their annual holiday, by the sea in Bognor.

    It sounds simple, and yes it is, but it is also lovely.

    One summer, between the wars, R C Sherriff visited Bognor. As he sat on the seafront, watching streams of visitors pass by, he realised what he wanted to write.

    “I began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea.

    It cou
    ...more
    Beth Bonini
    Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
    This seemingly simple book has a quiet sort of genius to it.

    On the surface, it is a painstakingly (and somewhat painfully) detailed account of a family’s annual fortnight holiday at the ‘Seaview’ boarding house in Bognor Regis (a seaside resort in West Sussex). But for all of its lower-middle class, 1930s British specificity, it does have these illuminating universal moments that give the story a poignant depth. And like the season, with summer edging inexorably into autumn, the book is also ab
    ...more
    Karen
    Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favorites
    I really loved this book, and when I first started it I wasn't sure that I would, despite rave reviews from some of my friends. It is a seemingly very simple book, about one family taking their annual seaside holiday, and I was afraid that its very simplicity would make it dull. But the story grows and grows on you as you read, and somehow Sherriff manages to devote enough time to each character so that you begin to care about them very much, and wonder what will happen to them on the next day o ...more
    Tania
    Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: persephone
    Utterly charming.

    This is a quiet, rather wistful story of the Stevens family's annual holiday in Bognor. Not a lot really happens, the first third of the book is spent getting ready, making lists and travelling. Finally they get to the seaside and what a joy it is, (for most of them, anyway). Dick and Mary, two of the three children, are now grown up and working, so there is an underlying realisation that this may be the last holiday they all spend together adding a touch of poignancy to the ho
    ...more
    Margaret
    The foreword to this book is an excerpt from R.C. Sherriff's autobiography, wherein he discusses how he wrote The Fortnight in September. He had had a marvelous success as a playwright with Journey's End: Play, but then he had an idea which he could only turn into a novel: the simple story of a family on their annual seaside holiday. Sherriff groped for the right style, finding that "flowery stuff and highfalutin words" weren't right and seeking a more down-to-earth style which would match his c ...more
    Chris
    Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
    Well, it took nearly a fortnight in August for me to read this book! If you like action or lots of dialogue, this book isn't for you. In a nutshell, it's the story of a family getting ready for their fortnight (100 pages before they even get there) to Bognor, a town they visit every fall. They stay at the same boarding house/b&b and everything is familiar. While it was in dull in spots, the quietness really captured me, it had a feeling of fall. Mr. Stevens looks forward to seeing the same famil ...more
    Kathy
    Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fiction, reviewed
    Very little happens in this novel, but it was still one of the most charming, thoughtful books I’ve read in years. It’s a simple account of a middle-class family’s annual visit to the seaside: the shucking off of day-to-day worries along with city clothes, visits to the band pavilion and amusement arcade, long days baking under an autumn sun or reading in the cool shade of a rented bathing hut, the teenaged son’s solitary musings about his future and his slightly older sister’s first tentative s ...more
    Liina Bachmann
    Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    White canvas shoes, finding sand between the pages of a book, skin tender from the sun, the salty smell of the sea, evening strolls and endless naps, badminton and raspberries, reading until my eyes hurt, way past bedtime. This is summer for me and has always been.
    .
    "The Fortnight in September" by R.C Sheriff captures all that. It is in its essence a simple book - a English middle class family on their traditional two week vacation by the sea. Nothing happens, there is no "plot". But anyone who h
    ...more
    Ali
    Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This is a delightful novel first published in 1931 - about the Stevens annual fortnights holiday in Bognor. Mr Stevens is a middle aged clerk - his wife a quiet gentle woman who secretly finds this holiday a bit of a strain. Their children, Dick and Mary who are now grown up, and out to work themselves, and Ernie their youngest still a school boy. This is a novel about ordinary people who live small lives, and the things which loom large and have unimaginable importance within that life - such a ...more
    Ruthiella
    Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
    There is something very gentle and soothing about this book which simply recounts a two week family vacation at a costal resort town in 1930’s England with touching detail of their hopes, fears, small rituals and quiet comforts. The Stevens family has been visiting Bognor, staying at the same bed and breakfast, for 20 years. Now that the children are nearly grown, this last visit is tinged with a slight melancholy and wistfulness.
    Tracey
    Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: persephone
    A wonderful read. The excitement of a seaside family holiday. Preparation, social etiquette and teenagers wanting to stretch their wings. Mr and Mrs Stevens have a very British preoccupation of wondering what others think of them.
    Rosemary
    Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: persephone
    Lovely story of a lower middle class family between the wars, taking their annual holiday at the seaside boarding house they go to every year.
    Primrose Jess
    Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I very much enjoyed this one and was happy to read in the back of the book that Persephone has printed another by this author.

    I loved the whimsy, the melancholy, the joy, the worry about things going wrong, ignoring decline in a well loved vacation setting because of the rosy memories you've had of it, and I loved the story of this proper family on holiday. So much was captured in this little gem that is both relatable but also foreign to us in a more modern age. Which is just another reason wh
    ...more
    NancyKay
    Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Really delightful novel from 1931 of a lower middle class English family's two week seaside vacation, which contains pretty much every element of human life. ...more
    Claire Fuller
    Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: read-in-2017
    Such an odd and wonderful book. Nothing really happens - In 1930 Mr and Mrs Stevens go on holiday to Bognor on the south coast of England with their three children to the same boarding house that they've been going to for seventeen years. They (mostly) have a lovely time and then they go home. It's the detail that makes it fascinating, and the observations of the feelings of the family: the huge disappointment when they realise they can't get the beach hut they want on the day they arrive, and t ...more
    Amy
    May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
    What a beautiful, beautiful book. Reminded me of the styles of Dorothy Whipple, Barbara Pym and Dottie Smith. It is a book that "simply" describes one middle class, English family on their annual holiday to the sea. What Sherriff does with this setting is a masterpiece. Each member of the family comes alive for the reader and many of the people they encounter. He expertly captures this family's love for one another and their ever-changing dynamics. If you love novels that are beautifully written ...more
    Sarah
    Exquisitely written, this 1931 novel is a deep contemplation of life, with all its disappointments. The long discriptions miss nothing out: a fortnight's holiday at the seaside, in all its minutiae. The characters are delightful, but lead very mediocre lives.

    I really wanted to love this book, but found that I was needing something more exciting, more substantial to bite into.
    ...more
    Classic reverie
    When I decided to read R. C. Sherriff's The Fortnight in September, I did not think it was actually September but after starting it dawned on me, and what a pleasant way to pass those hot days. What I like best about this was the family togetherness and caring about each other, especially the children to their parents. It had a wholesome feel of times past, where the children respected their elders. I felt like I was joining in on the Stevens family's vacation, and could understand the different ...more
    Catherine Fleet
    Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    A gem of a book. There’s an authenticity about something written during the time in which it’s set that’s much harder to capture in a story that’s put together decades afterwards. The Fortnight In September falls into the first category. We get to experience an innocent honesty in reading about the Stevens’ personal quirks, of situations that please without question and of managed expectations that depict a simpler time. Contentment was higher up the agenda than ambition, routine more important ...more
    Stephanie
    Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    This book is sublime...it's one of the first Persephone editions I read and I was not disappointed. I'm a fanatic beach-goer myself and love the ritual of going as much as the actual vacation, so this novel was especially dear to me. I loved the relationship among the relatives, how everybody was kind and thoughtful to each other, but at the same time lost in their own worlds (including a clandestine romance of sorts for the daughter). In addition to being a sensual delight (loved feeling the su ...more
    Laurel
    Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Gentle, poignant and sweet.
    Betsy Everett
    Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
    Came across this by accident when I heard it mentioned on the radio. Took me ages to track it down when Amazon declared they hadn't got it: but they had. On Kindle. And a secondhand one published 1951 (it was first published 1931). It's a miracle of a book: simple story of an ordinary family going on a fortnight's holiday to Bognor in September - as they've done for 20 years. Not much happens. No conflict, no romance, no real tension. Not even much of a story, to be honest. Yet it made me think ...more
    Jane
    Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: classics
    Henry James once said of Trollope that "His great, his inestimable merit was a complete appreciation of the usual." I was reminded of that quote while reading this marvelous work. Mr. Sherriff was able to show beauty in the anticipation, execution and end of a family vacation. He conveyed so much with so few words and in so doing showed his mastery of the written word. Like Trollope, his generous heart shows through his portrayal of each character, sketched with real appreciation of his or her i ...more
    Catherine
    Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
    A very sweet, thoughtful novel about an ordinary lower middle class family on their annual holiday to a shabby boarding house in Bognor. It is a slow moving story where every detail of the preparations, journey and holiday is described. I love a detailed domestic novel from this period, but I couldn't help wondering where the wider world fitted into their lives, given that this was published just a decade or so after the 1st World War and during a major recession...but I suppose that would be a ...more
    Jo
    Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I loved this! A simple tale of a family's annual holiday in Bognor in the 1930s, from their last night at home packing to the last day of the holiday. It's an easy, yet compulsive read. This is a story of a lost world... England before the Second World War and an age of innocence. Nostalgic and wholesome. Throughout the novel, we get a sense that things have changed and that the Stevens family may not be visiting Bognor the following year. The two eldest children are now working and planning a d ...more
    Carol Barry
    Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    absolutely beautiful account of the "good old days" .A classic that was written after the war years of the simple pleasures of a family holiday.taken in the same shabby boarding house every year.
    The author wrote this with out worrying what the reader thought.(IT WAS AN INSTANT BEST SELLER) .It was his own homage to normality.The likes and times of which we will never see again.
    ...more
    Lljones
    Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Gentle, tender, beautiful.
    Mandy
    May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    A small masterpiece
    Margaret
    Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    How can a book detailing a family’s annual holiday in Bognor be so readable? I’ve no idea, but I loved it.
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    Robert Cedric Sherriff was an English writer best known for his play Journey's End which was based on his experiences as a Captain in World War I. He wrote several plays, novels, and screenplays, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and two British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

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    39 likes · 19 comments
    “My vocabulary hadn’t been up to it. I’d floundered about, hunting up unfamiliar words that I’d never written down before, getting baffled and entangled and frustrated. But I shouldn’t be writing now with an eye to publication. Even if it got finished I’d never offer it to a publisher and risk another fiasco. I wanted to write for the sake of writing, and got started one evening in my hotel bedroom.” 0 likes
    “as they passed your seat, you saw them vividly as individuals, and now and then there would be one who struck a spark of interest that smouldered in your memory after they had gone. I began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea.” 0 likes
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