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Midsummer Night in the Workhouse (audiobook)

by Diana Athill

Diana Athill herself read this selection from her collection of short stories, Midsummer Night in the Workhouse. She read the stories, in a three hour-long recording, sixty years after they were first published (mostly in small magazines in the 1950s) when she was in her mid-nineties; but her voice is as beautiful and as vibrant as if she were still a young woman.

Some stories are set in England and describe incidents from Diana Athill's girlhood; one or two describe holidays abroad, almost all are seen from the woman's point of view. 'In this terrific collection female characters are sexually adventurous, introspective and enjoy a drink or three,' wrote the Daily Mail: 'A cheating wife, back with her boring husband, is wracked with agonising love for the unavailable partner of her brief fling; a writer seeks inspiration at a writers' retreat whilst avoiding the group seducer.'

The stories, which had never been re-published before until the Persephone edition, complement the memoirs (Instead of a LetterStet) and the letters (Instead of a Book). When the stories were reviewed on Radio 3's Night Waves Matthew Sweet called them 'extremely good ... written with brilliant precision and chilling honesty.' And The Times said: 'They reveal the same very mischievous and essentially humane sensibility that will be familiar to readers of Diana Athill's memoirs. But their value goes far beyond their potential biographical contribution. In her capacity to calmly and cheerfully record deep sadness she ranks among the best writers of late twentieth century short stories.'

Also available as a Persephone Grey.

Available wherever you usually get your audiobooks.

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