Gail, Hazel, Anna and Donna Coonan of Virago Modern Classics gather round the table to talk about giving new life to forgotten voices, and Helen Bourne heads for the Pyramids with a young Priscilla Napier.
This wonderful recreation of a time and a climate of mind – a hundred years ago, one realizes, startled – is not just an evocation of place but also of the child’s eye view. A Late Beginner ranks quite simply with the greatest accounts of how it is to be a child, to see with that strange, skewed, uncontaminated vision.
Brimming. That was how I spent my first weeks in Paris. Brimming with tears at the smallest setback. For Nancy Mitford’s Northey in Don’t Tell Alfred, dispatched to Paris to be secretary to Fanny Wincham, the new Madame l’Ambassadrice at the British Embassy, it is the ‘cruel food’ of France that sets her off. Beef consommé. Brimming. Lobster. Brimming. Foie gras. Brimming. ‘A Frenchman on board told me what they do to sweet geese for pâté de foie gras,’ says Northey at dinner on her first night at the Ambassador’s Residence. ‘Very wrong and stupid of him,’ says Fanny.
This independent bookshop is settled between the river and Richmond Green in leafy Richmond-Upon-Thames. The shop appears small from the outside but, within its doors, the bookshelves stretch far and are full of interesting reading. We spoke to bookseller Helena Caletta about life in the bookshop on this bend of the river Thames.