Sylvia Townsend Warner reading week which I think began life on a Facebook group for readers of STW – was originally supposed to take part between the 24th and 31st May (or something) but joy oh joys it was extended to a month long celebration last weekend. This has allowed me to get started on my lovely green Virago edition of Summer will show – a review in a day or two all being well. I could have chosen to read the much slighter Lolly Willowes – Sylvia Townsend Warner’s first novel – and possibly one many people have heard of – but I flicked idly through Summer will Show – which I have had for ages, and was instantly intrigued. I can report that at the time of writing I am very much enjoying it. Perhaps I can get to Lolly Willowes soon too – it’s a book I know a lot of people really love.
Last weekend I had managed to read a couple of short stories from Sylvia Townsend Warner in a collection of war time stories and non-fiction pieces. That really whetted my appetite for more, although it isn’t really all that long since I read Mr Fortune’s Maggot. That was the second Sylvia Townsend Warner novel that I had read, I first encountered her beautiful writing in the stunning The Corner that Held Them in 2012, a very unusual novel in many ways, but strangely beguiling, beautifully written and very memorable.
Sylvia Townsend Warner is a writer who really should probably be talked about as much and in equally hushed tones as the likes of Virginia Woolf – but she doesn’t seem to have quite that kind of profile. She was a novelist, short story writer and poet, some of her themes include, the rejection of Christianity, ambiguous sexuality and the position of women within society.
I am now very keen to get my hands on After the Death of Don Juan, The Flint Anchor and The True Heart – and more of the huge number of short stories that STW wrote, I do enjoy short stories particularly of this period – and the two I read last weekend were excellent.
I really shouldn’t be buying more books but I couldn’t help myself. Following Jacqui’s review of Young Man with a Horn, reminding me how I had been meaning to read Dorothy Baker for years, I bought that book and Cassandra at the Wedding. Two gorgeous NYRB editions, which I hope won’t stay on the shelf for too long.
It seems I really can’t stop winning all the books on Twitter (ok small exaggeration) as last week I won a signed copy of Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín. I have heard such good things about this book, that I shall probably read it soon too.