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Midsummer Night in the Workhouse
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"I can remember in detail being hit by my first story one January morning in 1958." So begins literary legend Diana Athill in the preface to Midsummer Night in the Workhouse, a long-overdue collection of her short fiction, originally published in the 1950s to the 1970s. In unsentimental though often touching prose, Athill's young women anticipate, enjoy, or just miss out on brief sexual encounters with men met on trains, at parties -- just about anywhere they can. A cheating wife, back with her boring husband, is wracked with agonizing love for the unavailable partner of her brief fling; a writer seeks inspiration at a writers' retreat whilst avoiding the group seducer's invitation; a wife's party flirtations propel her possessive husband into another woman's bed; two fun-loving women face a sinister sexual assault during a Greek holiday; a teenager experiences enraptured detachment during her first kiss. Beautifully written, perceptive, touching, and funny, "Midsummer Night in the Workhouse" is Diana Athill at her best.
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"I loved loved loved these short stories. They're like many-faceted gems, understated, deceptively simple and even off-hand, yet so filled with insights and real beauty." Nancy Pearl "[Diana Athill's] collected fiction writing from the 1950s through the 1970s is a handsome garland on a long career" Vogue " a very smooth read Athill is clearly a writer of intelligence." Rover Arts "These stories are small gems [Athill's] legion of admirers will be pleased." Maclean's Magazine"

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