This is actually the second Persephone Reading Week. We were away on vacation for last August's edition (though I still managed to read most of Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple), so I'm very excited to be participating this time around. What will I be reading?
Doreen by Barbara Noble (No. 60)
from the Persephone website:
In 1946 the theme of Doreen was, alas, horrifyingly topical - whether parents should have sent their children away from cities that might be bombed; and if they had done so, whether they could hope to maintain their relationship with them. 'The experience of this long separation, very difficult for all concerned at the time, often proved traumatic over a lifetime' comments Jessica Mann.
Barbara Noble writes with great insight about the mind of a child torn between her mother, whom she leaves behind in London, and the couple who take her in. Everyone wants only the best for Doreen yet, in the end, what is being explored is a clash of values: those looking after her will eventually realise that Doreen will go back 'to a world where most of the things you've taught her will be drawbacks rather than advantages.'
This is a deeply involving book, fascinating for the portrayal of the child torn between mother and temporary mother, and for its understanding of the tyrannies of the English class system. 'The manner of telling this poignant, subtle tragedy is beyond admiration, restrained, penetrating, deeply moving,' wrote Dorothy Canfield Fisher; and the Spectator reviewer described 'a gentle, serious story in which...the author's argument is scrupulously fair; she is observant, sensitive and intellligent.'
The endpaper is taken from a 1940 silk scarf 'London Alert' designed by Arnold Lever for Jacqmar (it is owned by a Persephone reader).
Are you in? What are you reading?