Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dorothy Whipple Does It Again



I just realized that about a year ago I blogged about how Dorothy Whipple cured my book slump (you can find my post on that here). How funny that she should come to my rescue again this year and with the same book, The Closed Door and Other Stories. Last year, I only had to read one story from that collection to get back my reading groove. This year I read a few more from this book. Whipple is always such a warm and cozy writer. Her books are the kind you just want to curl up with on a rainy day. It's been wonderful to delve back into her again. I've read most of her novels so all I have left is this short story collection. I didn't read all the stories because who knows when I'll have the book slumps again? I better save some of these wonders.

Actually, I'm not a fan of short stories in general and that's because I love a meaty story where I get to know the characters and I can be transported to another place. Short stories always leave me hanging. I always wish they were longer. Somehow Whipple manages these little gems quite brilliantly that I'm left satisfied. Though some of them are very short they're still perfectly crafted. It's also interesting how Whipple has led me to read other short stories by other writers. I'm now appreciating this genre so much more than I did before.

The Closed Door is the longest story in the book at 75 pages. It's about a daughter who lives with her stifling and controlling parents and feels powerless to break free and live her own life. The Handbag is about a woman who discovers through a handbag that her husband is having an affair. In Family Crisis, it takes a crisis for a father to finally appreciate his wife and daughter. In The Rose, a wife suddenly notices her husband leaving home with a rose from their garden tucked under his hat. Where is he going? These are just four of the stories in this collection but their little plots give you an idea of what Dorothy Whipple is like if you aren't familiar with her. I still have six more stories left to read so this book now has a permanent place on my bedside table.

I'm so glad I'm spreading these stories out because it's been so nice experiencing them this way. I highly recommend this book even if you haven't read Whipple or even if you're not a fan of short stories. This one will change your mind about the genre. If you're thinking of giving a Persephone book as a present for a friend or a relative, then I think this particular Persephone would be perfect.

12 comments:

  1. I wish I still had these to read for the first time. I don't think you have gotten to my favorite yet. I don't recall its title.

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  2. What a lovely post! I have yet to read Whipple but this has spurred me on to add this book to my virtual shopping trolley. I recall borrowing it from Tonbridge Library once and admiring the book and endpapers but sadly, I didn't get around to reading it in time. You've whet my appetite and I shall be keeping a look out for more Whipple :-)

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  3. I haven't read any Whipple, but after reading your post I realize that I must and ASAP! The Handbag and The Closed Door sound great! And that last one you mention made me want to find out where the husband with the rose was going. Great post!

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  4. I used to feel just like you did about short stories-now I love them-glad to see you are over your reading slump

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  5. I, too, have a "thing" about short stories, in that I usually avoid them. But you may have made a convert of me with your description of this book. (Not to mention giving me an excuse to add to my Persephone collection. Thanks!

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  6. @Thomas - Yes, I don't think I've read the stories you mentioned in your review. I still have a lot to look forward to with this book.

    @Rochester Reader, Nadia and Karen - Drop by after you've read a story or two. I'm sure you'll all love the stories.

    @Mel - Yes, I'm starting to love short stories. Read another one recently by another writer and loved it. Will review it soon.

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  7. I just received my first ever Whipple in the mail, and so I was super-excited to see this post. Thanks for whetting my appetite!

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  8. I haven't read any Dorthy Whipple. It sounds like I should check her out. Thanks.

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  9. What a gorgeous endpaper design. I cannot believe that I am still yet to discover Dorothy Wipple! So many books and authors yet to discover, so little time!

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  10. I also noticed the endpaper design first!!! I have tried for months to get my hands on a Whipple and failed but I will get there eventually. Something will turn up.

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  11. Dorothy can always be relied upon to get you out of a reading slump - I turn to her all the time when I need a bit of a reading lift.

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  12. Persephones in general are fabulous for reading slumps (case in point: my recent devouring of Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon). Good ol' Dorothy.

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