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Tell It to a Stranger

by Elizabeth Berridge
Persephone book no:

14 15 16

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ISBN 9781903155042

'One of my favourite Persephone books,' said Charlie Lee-Potter on Radio 4's Open Book, 'is a collection of short stories by Elizabeth Berridge first published in 1947 when she was 28. They are a revelation to me, I was transfixed by the quality of the writing. It seemed to me that they are quite radical stories, they were quite sharp and hard and disruptive as ideas.' In his Preface AN Wilson writes: 'She is a novelist of distinction who is also - and this is a rarity - equally at home in the quite different medium of the short story, with its need for an iron discipline and control. Many of the masters of this genre, carried away by their cleverness, either convey or actually possess the quality of heartlessness. Others - and one thinks primarily of Chekhov - are able to retain the discipline of the medium but suffuse its tight confines with warmth. This is the quality of Elizabeth Berridge's stories which sends us back to them, which makes us read and re-read until they have become friends.'

In The Tablet Isabel Quigly wrote about Elizabeth Berridge's 'remarkable capacity for taking one inside the world of her short stories and showing what happens to the people, where they belong, what they feel.' She too invoked Chekhov: 'It is there that she should be seen, at the highest level of short-story writing, without stereotypes, without foregone conclusions, with deep humanity and a recognisable voice.'


'Web', Graham Sutherland's screen-printed rayon crêpe fabric, was a 1947 design for Cresta Silks. It has a period austerity, while the jagged web imagery suits stories in which many of the characters are trapped - by other people's preconceptions or by the rigidity of their mindsets.

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