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Morituri

D.A.N. Jones, 23 May 1985

Secret Villages 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 571 13443 2
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Miss Peabody’s Inheritance 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 157 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 670 47952 7
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Mr Scobie’s Riddle 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Penguin, 226 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 14 007490 2
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The Modern Common Wind 
by Don Bloch.
Heinemann, 234 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 434 07551 5
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Fiskadoro 
by Denis Johnson.
Chatto, 221 pp., £9.50, May 1985, 0 7011 2935 2
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... until this century when it began to be rejected as a usurpation of the God’s-eye view. Elizabeth Jolley, for instance, is quite capable of telling a story but seems to feel that she ought not to. Miss Peabody’s Inheritance is primarily about a headmistress with lesbian tendencies and her affairs with pupils and fellow teachers: but ...

Growing up

Dinah Birch, 20 April 1989

Passing on 
by Penelope Lively.
Deutsch, 210 pp., £10.95, April 1989, 0 233 98388 0
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The man who wasn’t there 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 158 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 86068 891 7
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The Sugar Mother 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 210 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 670 82435 6
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Give them all my love 
by Gillian Tindall.
Hutchinson, 244 pp., £11.95, April 1989, 0 09 173919 5
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Storm in the Citadel 
by Kate Saunders.
Cape, 293 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 224 02606 2
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... own proper limits, and the resilience of Pat Barker’s writing lies in knowing where they lie. Elizabeth Jolley has always dealt shrewdly with the risks and pleasures of fantasy. In The Sugar Mother, she too turns to the familial complications a man might dream up for himself. Edwin Page is an academic, plugging away at English literature in an ...

Ruined by men

Anthony Thwaite, 1 September 1988

The Truth about Lorin Jones 
by Alison Lurie.
Joseph, 294 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 7181 3095 2
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Latecomers 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 248 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 224 02554 6
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Where the rivers meet 
by John Wain.
Hutchinson, 563 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 9780091736170
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About the Body 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 193 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 436 09784 2
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Stories 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 312 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 670 82113 6
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... of industrial archaeology, a father/daughter relationship and eroticism powerfully combine. With Elizabeth Jolley’s Stories, it’s probably best to begin with the last piece in the book, a self-styled self-portrait (‘A child went forth’) which in a few pages deftly, and with a puzzled naivety which I don’t think is false, sketches in her ...

Up from Under

John Bayley, 18 February 1988

The Faber Book of Contemporary Australian Short Stories 
edited by Murray Bail.
Faber, 413 pp., £12.95, January 1988, 0 571 15083 7
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... out still. Such stories here – and there are good ones by slightly older writers, such as Elizabeth Jolley, Olga Masters, Judah Waten – bring out something important in the nature of the form. It can carry an immense charge of social implication provided this remains immanent and tacit, visible only in the perspective and depth. Any attempt to ...

Terror on the Vineyard

Terry Castle: Boss Ladies, Watch Out!, 15 April 1999

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman 
by Rosemary Mahoney.
Doubleday, 273 pp., $23.95, November 1998, 9780385479318
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... own polite loathing of her grand yet self-absorbed mother. In the mordantly sapphic novels of Elizabeth Bowen, older women are depicted as seductive and treacherous – enchanting sociopaths who leave the younger women who fall in love with them both shell-shocked and vengeful. (See in particular Bowen’s brilliant first novel, The Hotel, of 1927.) In ...

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