A Careless Widow and Other Stories (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
A Careless Widow and Other Stories was published in the United States almost precisely on Sir Victor Pritchett’s eighty- ninth birthday. Pritchett’s first published story, “Rain in the Sierra,” appeared in 1926, meaning that he has been practicing this most difficult of genres for a period longer than many writers live. Graham Greene, four years Pritchett’s junior, is perhaps the only one of his contemporaries still actively writing. The fact that an author of Pritchett’s age is still producing stories is amazing enough; that the stories are lively, fresh, and genuinely contemporary seems miraculous.
Short story writers, it is often said, do not show the range of maturing and development that characterizes novelists. This generalization, whatever its validity for other writers, is essentially true for Pritchett, whose approach to the story form has changed little since the 1930’s. It was during this decade that Pritchett experimented most actively with various kinds of stories and finally hit upon both his matter and manner in “Sense of Humour,” an intense, tightly written tale of two young people whose affection for each other seems to be based on opportunism and callousness. In it one finds the sharp character delineation, ironic detachment, and paradoxical sympathy toward unsavory characters that have since become the hallmarks of...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
London Review of Books. XI, September 28, 1989, p.18.
National Review. XLI, November 10, 1989, p.58.
New Statesman and Society. II, August 25, 1989, p.28.
The New York Times. October 6, 1989, p. B7(N).
The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, October 22, 1989, p.3.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXVI, July 28, 1989, p.205.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, September 17, 1989, p.1.
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