Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley has written three collections of short stories and seven novels, the most recent being Late in the Day.

A Parlour in Purley: Life as a Wife

Tessa Hadley, 17 June 2021

We could hardly expect George Meredith to be thankful for his humiliation at the hands of his too-lively first wife, who was insufficiently devoted to his greatness. But it’s possible now to see that Mary Ellen’s betrayal was the necessary irritant, the grit, that brought out his best work. He couldn’t leave her story alone – in novel after novel he returned to portraits of women dissatisfied with their lumbering males, who are always one step behind and too much in love with themselves to see anyone else clearly.

Every​ so often literary history convulses, then settles down into a different shape. New tastes and new politics cast a lurid light on the judgments of forty, fifty, sixty years ago: some established names take a tumble and some forgotten names rise, mostly after the deaths of the authors concerned. New-old writers are good for publishers, but this literary resurrection is genuinely, too,...

When​ Jean Stafford published Boston Adventure in 1944, at the age of 29, Life magazine called her ‘the most brilliant of new fiction writers’. The novel sold an impressive 380,000 copies and she went on to publish two more, The Mountain Lion (1947) and The Catherine Wheel (1952). Throughout the 1950s, her short stories were a fixture in the New Yorker. She published nothing...

Hats One Dreamed about: Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley, 20 February 2020

Ata certain point in my reading life, aged 12 or 13, I promoted myself to the adult section of my local library, climbing up three wide steps covered in yellow linoleum. There, not knowing how to choose, I gravitated to Elizabeth Bowen – along with others, including Compton Mackenzie and Hugh Walpole, of whose writing I can’t now recall even the faintest flavour. I’d...

InOlive, Again, her seventh book, Elizabeth Strout returns to her character Olive Kitteridge, a maths teacher in small-town Maine. A number of the chapters in Strout’s first, eponymous book about the character had already appeared in print as short stories before the novel’s publication in 2008, so that Olive Kitteridge is really half a novel, half a collection of stories;

No Shortage of Cousins: Bowenology

David Trotter, 12 August 2021

The pleasures as much as the perils of adaptation led Elizabeth Bowen to suppose that the fundamental condition of human experience is a feeling of ‘amorphousness’ which prompts the ‘obsessive wish...

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Faithful in the Dusk: Tessa Hadley

Adam Mars-Jones, 15 August 2019

The autumnal title​ of Tessa Hadley’s new novel, almost in the resigned mode of Barbara Pym, is both truthful and deceptive. Relationships of love and friendship with deep roots in the...

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