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Jack Adrian's first collection of E.F. Benson stories, Desirable Residences, marked the return of what Kirkus Reviews hailed as "the acid-tongued author of the peerless Lucia novels." After slipping into obscurity upon his death in 1940, Benson has undergone a tremendous revival, thanks to the work of Adrian and popular television adaptations of his Mapp and Lucia stories. Now comes a second collection of Benson's delightful short stories, some of which are newly discovered, and most of which have never been published in book form.
Fine Feathers captures the full expanse of Benson's long career, with stories ranging from 1894 to 1931. Here we find all of Benson's remarkably satirical wit, expressed in a delightful variety of stories. There are frothy comedies, tales of the supernatural, and biting stories of calamitous social gaffes, devastated pretensions, and clever swindles. These rare stories capture his skillful characterizations as well: one sequence of tales feature Amy Bondham, a figure very close to the celebrated Lucia of his popular Mapp and Lucia novels. Another story features the final appearance of the heroine Dodo, the character who first made the author famous; the woman who supposedly provided the model for Dodo once described her as a society girl, "a pretentious donkey with the heart and brains of a linnet." In "Dodo and the Brick," she sees off a social climber in fine style, as does the redoubtable Miss Ames in the title story. The collection also includes a little-known story with the ever-popular Miss Mapp, entitled "The Male Impersonator," in which she suffers a devastating retribution. And one of the stranger tales stars Benson himself, in "Atmospherics," as the author undergoes a mysterious and unsettling experience in his home town of Rye.
When Desirable Residences brought E.F. Benson back into the bookstore, Mapp and Lucia lovers were delighted at the chance to have their favorite author in hardcover. Now comes another outstanding anthology showing the master at his best--from society spoof to chilling supernatural tale.
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From Kirkus Reviews:
About the Author:
E.F. Benson was an extremely prolific and popular novelist, whose works include Dodo and Queen Lucia, as well as various volumes of reminiscences.
About the Editor:
Jack Adrian is the author of several thrillers, and war and science fiction novels. He is an authority on twentieth-century popular and genre fiction and has compiled a number of anthologies and single-author collections, including a previous Benson anthology, Desirable Residences.
A companion volume to Desirable Residences (1991): 31 more stories, all but two previously uncollected, by Benson (1867-1940), the British social satirist and chronicler of Lucia and Miss Mapp. Adrian's divisions of Benson's work into sections is rather misleading, for virtually all of Benson's stories are at once ``Society Stories,'' ``Sardonic Stories,'' and ``Crank Stories'' retailing the adventures of an indistinguishable set of social climbers obsessed with getting and keeping laughably inconsequential advantages over their equally venal competitors--cadging the choicest invitations, throwing the parties everyone will be talking about, insinuating themselves into the bosoms of this season's fashionable playwrights. Shorter, slighter anecdotes like ``Noblesse Oblige,'' ``An Entire Mistake,'' and ``The Fall of Augusta'' deal with guileful mistakes and deceptions (Is Mr. Carew buttering up the duchess or merely her secretary? Just who is Lady Teal, the new neighbor to whom Miss Mapp has so precipitately sent her card?). But Benson really shines when rendering power struggles between warriors who see through each other's tactics all too clearly--the American socialite who vanquishes her snobbish British counterpart, the ardent suitor who uses his collection of antique tableware to win the hand of his reluctant lady--and when exposing the comic pathologies of the truly, madly, deeply obsessed--the young miser who craftily hoodwinks himself out of every pleasure in his cushy life, the industrious author who sells shares of himself as a public corporation. One particular set of Benson's stories does stand out: Though the heroes of his ``Crook Stories'' are spiritual twins of his socialites, these ghost stories- -especially the fine concluding tale, ``Boxing Night''--show a compassion rare in his other work. A perfect bedside book--guaranteed to send you off to sleep with a malicious smile on your lips. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 1994. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0192123254
Book Description Oxford University Press, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110192123254
Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0192123254
Book Description Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0192123254 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0970243
Book Description Oxford University Press, New York, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: new. First edition/first printing. ISBN:0192123254. [4to] xviii.302p. biblio. New in dj protected against wear and tear in Brodart Archival Mylar. Seller Inventory # 106238