Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sylvia Townsend Warner - Short Stories

It's been a Sylvia Townsend Warner kind of week - which is always a good thing. The newly produced Faber collection 'Winter in the Air' came into work - I bought a copy minutes later, and karma rewarded my donation of unwanted Christmas decorations to a charity shop by dropping an old green-spined Virago Modern Classics edition of her selected stories in my path for only £2. I already had a copy of this, but my first one was falling apart, this one doesn't even seem to have had the spine cracked open. 

I've come to love Sylvia Townsend Warner in recent years, she's a joy I owe in equal parts to Handheld Press and Helen for the gentle steer in the right direction. The novels I've read have been great, but her short stories are something else again. They're precise and elegant with a  gentle melancholy about them, and sometimes a not at all gentle melancholy. 

She's also quite a hard sell in the shop which is a shame. In my own little corner of the internet, Warner is a much-loved name, but unfortunately and along with a few other writers I love, it's an uphill struggle to get people to take a chance on her. I'm hoping that the mini cloth-bound Penguin classics edition of Lolly Willows will lure in the Book tok and Instagram crowd and push a wider rediscovery - though again, for my money it's the short story collections which are the real gems. 

'Winter in the Air' is everything you could hope for from Warner, Handheld's collections of her fairy stories are magical, especially if you like a touch of weird - make it a Sylvia Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. Great find! It is good to come across mint condition Virago Modern Classics in charity shops, I always buy them, even if I don't know the author.
    Sylvia Townsend Warner is a favorite of mine as well, her diaries particularly.