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Every Eye

by Isobel English
Persephone book no:

17 18 19

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ISBN 9781903155066

Isobel English, the pseudonym of June Braybrooke (1920-94), wrote little, but what she published was of outstanding quality. 'Sometimes, but not often, a novel comes along which makes the rest of what one has to review seem commonplace. Such a novel is Every Eye,' John Betjeman said in the Daily Telegraph on its first publication in 1956.

An unusual and telling example of the 1950s modernist novel, moreover one with a spiritual bent, Every Eye is about a girl growing up to what could have been unhappiness but for her marriage to a carefree young(er) man. Her unsympathetic family have made her feel awkward about every aspect of life, and she has also felt like an outsider due to having a squint. But she manages to make a career by teaching the piano and then, on holiday in France, meets her soon-to-be husband. As she travels south by train to Ibiza with him she surveys her past life and unravels a mystery. Hence The Tablet's comment: 'This novel is a marvellous discovery. You will want to reread it immediately in the light of its astonishing final paragraph.'

Muriel Spark wrote: 'The late Isobel English was an exceptionally talented young novelist of the mid-1950s. Every Eye is one of her most successful and sensitively written books, a romantic yet unsentimental story of a young woman's intricate relationships of family and love, intensely evocative of the period, remarkable in its observations of place and character.' 


The fabric is from the 1956 'Iberia' range; the shapes are an image of a rocky landscape, while the bright yellow makes an implicit contrast with the grey of England.

Picture Caption

'Ibiza Landscape' by Edward Wolfe, 1953

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