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The Second Persephone Book of Short Stories

by Persephone Books
Persephone book no:

131 132 133

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A Well Full of Leaves
Regular price £14.00
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ISBN 9781910263228

The Persephone Book of Short Stories (PB No. 100) celebrated our one hundredth book; in 2019, The Second Persephone Book of Short Stories (PB No. 132) celebrated twenty years of publishing, and we hope that it brings the same pleasure to thousands of readers. Again, there are thirty stories, spanning nearly a century (from 1896–1984). Twelve are taken from the twelve volumes of stories we have published over the last few years; nine were previously published in our magazine during the last decade; and nine have been selected especially for this collection. They are presented in the order they were written. A quarter are by North American women writers. Our proofreader wrote: ‘VERY ENJOYABLE, though some of the stories eg. “Monkey-Barges” by Emma Smith are exceedingly painful. It seems to me the common themes are grief over the two World Wars. This is stronger in the earlier part of the book, how to cope with a new order being stronger in the latter. Completely fascinating. Book Groups will love it.’ Some of our favourite short stories in this collection include "The Bedquilt' by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1906), "The Casualty List" by Winifred Holtby (1932), "Miss Anstruther's Letters" by Rose Macauley (1942), "The Proof" by Mary Rickwood (1954), "Sunday Morning" by Dorothy Whipple (1961), and "Gilbert" by Rosamunde Pilcher (1984), after whom the Persephone office dog is (in part) named. 


The front endpaper (above) is 'Tiger Lily', 1986 by Lindsay Butterfield for GP & J Baker. The back endpaper is 'Havana', a screen-printed cotton fabric design by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell for Fischbacher Ltd.  Both © V&A Images

Picture Caption

Roger Fry, 'Lady Seated in an Omega Interior', date unknown

Read What Readers Say

Northern Reader (blogger)

Some stories in ‘The Second Persephone Book of Short Stories’ have been featured in Persephone’s own twice-yearly magazine, others have been more difficult to access. As always the distinctive grey cover of this book distinguishes it as one of an excellent series; a well produced and attractive book which would be a wonderful gift. Some stories are tragic, but others are inspiring and even humorous. Many are clever, and have much to say about women’s lives at the time when they were written. The essence of this book is to give a short insight into a life, either over a long period or a very brief glimpse of an incident. Short stories can be an acquired taste, but they have the advantage of offering something for everyone’s taste in a book like this of diverse authors. This is the second book of short stories that Persephone has published, and either one is to be recommended as offering an impressive selection of tasters of women authors who had something to say in the twentieth century, or to demonstrate the power of fiction in lives affected by change and challenges.

Categories: Short Stories

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