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Fortnight In September Paperback – September 22, 2006
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I cannot say enough about Sherrill's literary gifts. It seems amazing to me this novel was written in 1931. the Stevens family is so real and contemporary. it's contagious joy at spending each late summer 2 week vacation for 20 years at a rather rundown seaside guest house in Bognor, England. it is a touching book, but without bathos. needless to say, I have just ordered more Sherril titles from Amazon!
A lot of the book is interior monologs ruminating on life's ups and downs, disappointments, and hopes.
Weighed down by the class system and trying to hold their own....each one is hoping for a brighter future.
Beautifully written and very touching.
Top international reviews
It is deceptively simple in style and the Stevens Family seem rather bland at first, but their characters gradually charm you into empathy. There is barely a plot worth speaking of, but the sentiments and sensitivity make for a delightful read.
Each of the four older family members is brought face-to-face with recollections of (and reappraisals of) their lives: how the parents met and felt; the father's dashed hopes and missed opportunities; the mother's shyness and resignation to a humdrum life-even on holiday; the son's realisation that he had to break away from the dead-end job initiated by his father; and the daughter's first romantic experiences. All unwinding against the backdrop of "Seaview" and its landlady in distress.
The book conveys a sense of great intimacy, and, strangely, from time to time, I found myself reminded of the Updike Rabbit Angstrom quartet, written a generation later and set 3000 miles away!
I read this book in the Persephone re-print, the quality of which added to my enjoyment.
Despite the modest subject matter, R.C. Sherriff's (1931) story is a precious piece of social history and a neglected literary gem. As the British seaside changed little between the 1930s and 1950s, until the introduction of Holiday Camps and Packaged trips abroad, I was whole-heartedly able to relate to this story. I loved the surveillance of a bygone era, the indulgent nostalgia, the 'down to earth' style of writing and understated language that perfectly matched the unassuming family within the pages. Oh how I miss the Stevensons already!
If this novel began as a study in contemporary ordinariness, it has now become a cherished period piece. And if you appreciate the unique observations, quality and style of Margaret Forster or Alan Bennett (minus doom & gloom) you'll thoroughly enjoy 'A Fortnight in September'