Hug me, kiss me

Penelope Fitzgerald

  • Such Devoted Sisters: An Anthology of Stories edited by Shena Mackay
    Virago, 330 pp, £6.99, August 1994, ISBN 1 85381 755 4
  • When the World Was Steady by Claire Messud
    Granta, 270 pp, £14.99, July 1994, ISBN 0 14 014099 9

Shena Mackay’s outstanding anthology, Such Devoted Sisters, consists of 21 sisterly stories, all written by women, much more thoughtfully than the title suggests. Since this is a relationship which doesn’t change, the book isn’t chronologically arranged, and the earliest piece, Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, comes last of all. Placed there, it seems like a magical explanation of all that goes before.

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