The Last Bookstore
10 minutes ago
Too few readers of fiction know the novels of Ward Just, which is a real shame, since he is a master craftsman, unafraid to tackle deep and difficult topics. In many ways he seems to be the American Graham Greene, concerned always with the morality of human behavior. His novels are thoughtful, beautifully written, and often bleak bleak bleak. I sometimes think that Just never met a happy ending he liked.
A picture began to form itself in Felicity’s mind of two rows of symmetrical doorsteps, of first-floor French windows which opened on to diminutive balconies, of a sunny little street with scarlet omnibuses roaring past one end and a vista of trees seen facing the other. Sometimes it was so clear that she could almost read the name on the corner lamp-post; sometimes it faded to a blur or the view-point changed so that only one house was visible. Neat little area railings, a brightly painted front door with a shining brass knocker. It opened and showed a narrow passage-hall, lighted by a window on the turn of the stairs; and in that window there came the green light of sunshine filtered through leaves. ‘That’s the house we’re going to live in,’ she said to herself. ‘But where did I see it?’ Where could she have been going when a momentary glimpse from a taxi had shown her that passage-hall and that window? And why had she forgotten all about it at the time, only to find it lodged so obstinately in her memory now?As luck would have it, Felicity does finally find Greenery Street again, and she and her fiancé Ian Foster manage to find a place of their own there to move into after they are married. It would be wrong to say that Greenery Street is the background for the story of this young couple’s new life together. The street itself, is as much a character as they are. Just as we learn about Ian and Felicity’s personalities and foibles, so too do we learn about the foibles and personality of the street itself. With little exception the street is home to young couples making their way and their new lives together. Staying in Greenery Street just long enough for the first baby or two to come along and require a move to more spacious accommodations.
Dear Persephone Books:Seriously folks, Whipples aren’t easy to find this side of the Atlantic, and I don’t want to run out once I finish the six that have been reissued so far. Perhaps I have already read the only two decent books Whipple ever wrote. But I kind of doubt that. First with The Priory and now with High Wages I am totally smitten with Whipple and would love to sit down and read them all in one sitting.
Dorothy Whipple wrote 18 books. You have only reissued 6 of them. To those of us who have read even some of Mrs. Whipple’s work, I think it is safe to say that we are unwilling to countenance this unacceptable situation. It shouldn’t be too difficult for all of the good folks at Persephone to sit down and work out a schedule for the timely reissuance of the rest of Whipple’s oeuvre.
Whether intended or not, by reintroducing the discerning reading public to the wonders of Dorothy Whipple, Persephone has entered into a serious commitment akin to the sacred covenant between God and her chosen people. Well, you have made us believers, now please don’t leave us in the desert for forty years. Some of us, and perhaps the printed publishing world itself, may not last that long. And I doubt that a Whipple would smell as good on a Kindle as it does in a Persephone paperback.
Believe me to be, very truly yours,
Thomas at My Porch