A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: The Collected Stories

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Penguin Books Limited, Jun 30, 2011 - Fiction - 256 pages
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Novelist, critic and biographer, Margaret Drabble is one of the major literary figures of her generation. This collection shows her to be a leading practitioner of the art of the short story, presenting her complete short fiction for the first time in a single volume, spanning four decades, from 1964 to 2000.

Several of the stories, like The Dower House at Kellynch, are set in Somerset and Dorset and reflect their author's intimate knowledge of the land and flora there, but their settings also range as far as Elba and Cappadocia. Taken as a whole, the stories reflect the social changes of the past forty years, by showing the English at home and abroad. In 'The Gifts of War', peace-protesting students clash with a mother buying a toy for her son, with tragic consequences. An Englishman on honeymoon has a brief but significant epiphany, finding a shared humanity with a Moroccan crowd in 'Hassan's Tower'. Their protagonists are men and women, husbands and lovers, television presenters and housewives, all subtly and precisely captured as products of their time and place. In his introduction, Spanish scholar Josť Francisco FernŠndez celebrates the 'pure and simple pleasure to be found in reading these survivalist, questioning, belligerently intense short stories'.

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User Review  - Sarahfine - LibraryThing

Drabble is expert in putting the ineffable into words. Unspoken chemistry between two people, the mental gymnastics going on behind a silent exterior, the deep waters behind a mother's reserved ... Read full review

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User Review  - SalemAthenaeum - LibraryThing

A collection of short stories exploring human experiences such as marriage, female friendships, the English tourist abroad, love affairs with houses, peace demonstrations, gin and tonics, and cultural television. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Margaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the daughter of barrister and novelist John F. Drabble, and sister of novelist A.S. Byatt. She is the author of eighteen novels and eight works of non-fiction, including biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. In 1980, Margaret Drabble was made a CBE and in 2008 she was made DBE. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd, and lives in London and Somerset.

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