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The Village

by Marghanita Laski
Persephone book no:

51 52 53


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AFTERWORD BY JULIET GARDINER
312pp
ISBN 9781903155424

'If anyone asked me to describe life in post-war Britain,' commented Sarah Crompton in the Daily Telegraph, 'I would suggest they read The Village, a 1952 story of lovers divided by class that tells you more about the subtle gradations of life in the Home Counties and the cataclysmic changes wrought by war and a Labour government than any number of plays by JB Priestley or more famous tomes by Greene and Waugh.'

The Village begins on the very day the war ended. Two women, who have been firm friends during the war, go as usual to the Red Cross Post. Here they spend the night as they always had done, chatting over a cup of tea. As dawn breaks they lock the door 'but still they lingered, unwilling finally to end this night and the years behind it. "There's a lot of us will miss it," Edith said. "We've all of us felt at times, you know, how nice it was, like you and me being able to be together and friendly, just as if we were the same sort, if you know what I mean." "I'll miss it a lot too," Wendy said. There was no point in her saying that it could go on now, the friendliness and the companionship and the simple liking of one woman for another. Both knew that this breaking down of social barriers was just one of the things you got out of the war, but it couldn't go on.'

As Charlotte Moore wrote in the Spectator: 'This traditionally organised novel of English village life is more than a gentle dig at quirky English behaviour. It is a precise, evocative but unsentimental account of a period of transition; it's an absorbing novel, and a useful piece of social history.'

Endpaper

The endpaper is a printed cotton designed by Margaret Simeon for John Lewis in 1946. In her review Charlotte Moore praised this 'lovely Persephone reprint with a pearly grey cover and endpapers like the maids' bedroom curtains in a Victorian country house.'

Picture Caption

The homecoming of Private Bill Martin from Burma winter 1945-6 taken from We'll Meet Again (1984) ed. Robert Kee


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