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Someone at a Distance (Persephone Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Dorothy Whipple's language is very simple. Her prose is uncomplicated, yet there's a lot of meaning behind it. Her upper-middle-class English characters are all absorbed in their own mundane lives, until the arrival of Louise literally shakes them all up. Louise is obviously not meant to be a sympathetic character (unlike Ruth in Susan Glaspell's Fidelity); and at times she devolves into the stereotypical "other woman." Much more preferable is Ellen, the sensible English housewife who finds her life shattered during the after the divorce.
It's a sad subject, yet there are some truly funny moments; the surly Miss Daley going postal on Louise is an example that comes to mind. So in the end, each of the characters get what they deserve--even Avery, towards whom I feel a bit ambivalent. I feel as though he simply sat back and let things happen to him, rather than be an active member of the cast of characters.
It's interesting that I've chosen to read this book now, so shortly after reading another Persephone title, Fidelity--it's the story of an extramarital affair as told from the conventional point of view. Despite my feelings towards Avery and Louise, I though many of the other characters were well-drawn.Read more ›
There are a couple of semi-cliche characters, the "other woman" for example...she's even French for heaven's sake! But the rest are as vivid as if they were standing in front of you. Whipple is able to convey the emotions of every character from the teenage daughter to the housekeeper, even the "other woman" with incredible care, and ease.
This book most reminded me of reading Elizabeth Gaskell, quiet, elegantly written, insightful emotions.
I'm not sure why this gifted writer has been so ignored by the literature intelligencia...maybe they should look around more. Fortunately, Persephone Classics has published several of Whipple's books, and some other wonderful (mostly female) authors. I've already bought a couple!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At first I thought this was going to be an old fashion, kind of fluffy piece of fiction, but there is a lot going on in this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by chris Cunningham
Of the three Dorothy Whipple books I have read this was the weakest. It's very Mrs. Minivar but still quaint in that it's of its time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MTM
This was an engaging novel of manners, somewhat plausible until you get to the end of the book, then it's a bit of a stretch (i.e., cause for the infant's illness!)Published 22 months ago by Debora DeFoe
Everything I have read by Dorothy Whipple I have found totally engaging, and this is no different. I wish they would put her books on Kindle!! Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by CORGILISA
It is heart warming to see a genuinely nice but wronged middle age woman rising above atrocities and rebuilding her life, relying only on her own wits and resources.Published on January 25, 2013 by Ophelia
Yes, it is an old story, but told in an original way. One of the best books I have read in awhile.Published on December 22, 2011 by kathy
Dorothy Whipple's Someone at a Distance is a psychologically astute and well-written account of the happy marriage between Ellen and Avery North that becomes undone. Read morePublished on August 29, 2011 by Maeri
Loved it...This book was my introduction to The Persephone Book collection. I had just come off reading some fabulous classics, and was searching for something new to catch my... Read morePublished on May 18, 2011 by awflorida
I loved reading this book. It takes you to a different era and Dorothy Whipple's insights into human character are amazing, addictive reading!!!Published on March 18, 2010 by Michelle Crawford