Saturday, 13 August 2011

Virago Modern Classics 2011

Sorry for late replies to comments on my last post but my computer - which was held together by little more than elastic bands and string - finally called it a day last month. As I've said before to me the internet is all about communication and to interact with other readers via comments is one of the greatest pleasures of book blogging. After re-reading the Rebecca West trilogy I found it difficult to settle down to reading anything else. Started The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins for book club but I prefer to read Victorian novels in the winter. Started The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, but within a few pages I knew it wasn't for me.

It was therefore very timely of Virago to re-issue five modern classics in hardback for the summer. Even better that they included Elizabeth Jenkins The Tortoise and the Hare which I've wanted to read ever since it was reviewed by Roses Over a Cottage Door, A few of my favourite books (now Lavender Tisane) Books and Chocolate and A Book Sanctuary

I loved this book. Although it is a sad story - beautiful woman who lives to please her wealthy husband cannot believe he is cheating on her with a dowdy spinster much older than herself - the writing and detail are beautiful with echoes of Jane Austen. There is also an excellent introduction by Hilary Mantel and an illuminating afterword by Carmen Callil. The cover design is Japanese Floral by Florence Broadhurst. A perfect summer read.

18 comments:

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Waterstones here have these on three for two, and I almost picked it up t'other day, but I have so many unread books that I just can't justify it.

Now, I wish I had though... it sounds amazing.

mary said...

I loved it, too - such wonderful characters and you sympathise with them all.
And I know what you mean about the Victorians and winter ... Wilkie Collins needs to be read in front of the fire with a tumbler of whisky!

Sunday Taylor said...

What a beautiful book. I agree with you about Victorian mysteries, better to read them when it's cold outside and you are cozy inside, preferably in front of a fireplace. So glad you are immersed in a book you love, there's nothing better.

Hannah said...

HOW beautiful is that cover?!

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Anbolyn (Gudrun's Tights) said...

I really love and covet these new editions and need to find a way to buy them here in the States! The House of the Spirits is a very peculiar book, isn't it? I read it years ago, but remember it being a struggle.

Carolyn said...

Oh what a gorgeous collection! The Enchanted April's cover is especially lovely and I'm glad more of these books are getting publicity.

The Tortoise & the Hare was the first Virago I managed to finish, mostly because of the beautiful writing and sympathy for the plight of Imogen. It reminds me of Elizabeth Bowen, although I wish Elizabeth Jenkins had written more of her own like this!

callmemadam said...

Sorry about your computer. So wonderful when they work and so maddening when they don't.

I prefer to read Victorian novels in the winter.
Strange, isn't it? After Christmas every year I feel the need to re-read The Moonstone, Sherlock Holmes etc.

Dorothy W. said...

Interesting about Elizabeth Jenkins; I haven't read her and don't own anything by her, but you make me want to check her out further. Your description of her is appealing.

Darlene said...

Oh I am so glad that you've read this wonderful book! It drew me in slowly at first but then I was completely riveted.

This edition sounds like it has some really interesting additions to my copy so a purchase may be in order. Of course that gorgeous cover has nothing to do with it...

lifeonthecutoff said...

We are having a rash of computer problems ourselves, so, I can sympathize. A nice review, drawing me in and about to look for The Tortoise and the Hare. Thank you.

Cathy at PotterJotter said...

I would have that book just for the cover, let alone the contents! Lovely.

Audrey said...

I loved this book, too - and what a beautiful edition!

Erica said...

Such wonderful characters and you sympathize with them all.

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Vintage Reading said...

anothercookiecrumbles, I can't justify it either but I'd like the Molly Keane, too. Those hardback vmc's are just so collectable!

Mary, I'd read Jenkins' Austen biog but her fiction was new to me and I'm so glad I read it.

Sunday, think I'll read Charlotte Bronte's The Professor in the winter months and possibly a biography of Elizabeth Gaskell.

Hannah, isn't is pretty? VMC have excelled themselves with their covers this summer!

Anbolyn, read the first 50 pages of HOS and found it a bit stomach-churning so I abandoned it!

Carolyn, the writing was indeed beautiful and I only discovered this writer through book bloggers!

callmemadam, actually with no computer for a month I really got a lot of reading done and felt more relaxed somehow. I missed browsing the blogs, though!

DorothyW, I would highly recommend EJ and I have the backing of many other book bloggers!

Darlene, ah but my cover doesn't have those striking red tights!

lifeonthecuff, remarkable that the day seems so much longer and you get so much more done without a PC!

Cathy, I do like aesthetically pleasing book covers - just a shame they are generally expensive!

Audrey, I'd like the Molly Keane from the new collection, too - another writer I'm not familiar with.

Erica, Jenkins manages to make even the overbearing Blanche sympathetic - a wonderful writer!

Tracey said...

I loved this as well - think it is one of my favourite reads of the year so far. The writing is so spot on isn't it? That cover is gorgeous!

irisonbooks said...

Now I want to read it too! This edition looks beautiful. All of the new bound editions of VMC do..

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy looking at your blog for more reading inspiration! thankyou - i have just ordered this book from the library (so won't be reading the beautiful version unforch)

also, i have just finished reading last dance with valentino by daisy waugh (evelyn's granddaughter) and it's a departure from her usual. So i really recommend it

keep up the excellent and informative reviews please!

Vintage Reading said...

Hi, thank you for your kind comments. Hope you enjoyed this book. I will check out the Daisy Waugh!