One Thing Leading to Another (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
When Sylvia Townsend Warner died in 1978, she left behind a number of uncollected stories and a few not previously published. Thirteen of these uncollected pieces and seven previously unpublished ones have been assembled by Susanna Pinney for inclusion in this, perhaps the last, volume of Warner’s short fiction. Lovers of the genre and admirers of Warner will hope that there are still more awaiting publication, but if this is indeed her final book, it is certainly a fitting and worthy close to a long and distinguished career.
In an age jaded by sensationalism and overwhelmed by crises, Warner’s brand of gentle, charming fiction may seem an anachronism at best, an irrelevance at worst. The stories in this volume seldom look at the world portrayed by the nightly news but focus on one that seems quaint, curious, remote. Of the twenty stories, only two deal with “significant” issues, and these are set during and immediately after World War II, a period now remote enough to seem nostalgic. The remainder deal with lonely spinsters, the Elfin world, and English village life. Three of these concern an eccentric family, the Finches; four are set in the arcane world of antique dealers and their customers. It seems damning with faint praise to say that much of the appeal of this volume lies in its humor, gentleness, and charm—in its insistence on the importance of the individual and its sensitivity to the plight of the lonely. If that is the case, so be...
(The entire section is 2021 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Booklist. LXXXI, September 15, 1984, p. 110.
Kirkus Reviews. LII, September 1, 1984, p. 824.
Library Journal. CIX, October 15 1984, p. 1960.
Newsweek. LV, January 14, 1985, p. 70.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVI, September 28, 1984, p. 99.
Punch. CCLXXXVI, May 2, 1984, p. 60.
Times Literary Supplement. March 18, 1983, p. 278.
Times Literary Supplement. August 24, 1984, p. 953.
(The entire section is 37 words.)