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The title story shows a headmaster’s elegant wife suffering torments of jealousy when his gawky young cousin comes to live with them. Why is it that her sophistication seems unable to compete with Hester’s naivety? Elsewhere we see the mute agonies of a long marriage; the emotional deserts lurking in the English countryside; and old ruffian’s sense of suffocation in a genteel community for the blind; or the freshness and oddity of children’s perceptions. In this, her first collection of short stories, Elizabeth Taylor charts the territory she so triumphantly claimed as her own.


An eye as sharply all-seeing as her prose-style is elegant -- even the humdrum becomes astonishing
Brilliantly amusing
Rosamond Lehmann
How skilfully and with what peculiar exhilaration she negotiated the minefield of the human heart
Jonathan Keates
A wonderful novelist
Jilly Cooper