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Mystica Varathapalan

Thank you for a very interesting post.


Hi Mystica--Thanks for stopping by and am happy you enjoyed it! :)


Oh, Danielle, I think this is one I must have for myself. I loved the Borrowers as a child (of course, I, too had a family, living in the tiles of the bathroom). My mother always had a copy of Women's Day around. I wonder now if she was reading Mary Norton's stories in Women's Day while my imagination was was with the family in the wall tiles in the bath.

Christine Harding

I think your reaction to this book was very similar to mine. I really enjoyed it (I only got it because I still love The Borrowers so much) and thought she was more involved in her tales than the authors of other short stories I've come across (it's a genre I've only recently started exploring). She seems to have put a lot of herself and her life into what she wrote.

vicki (bibliolathas/skiourophile)

I only read The Borrowers (and all the others in the series - couldn't put them down!) last year, and I loved her writing, so I must read some of her adult writing. Thanks for alerting me, Danielle!


You know my reading tastes well enough by now, Danielle...would I like this collection? Sounds lovely!

Elizabeth (The Bamboo Bookcase)

Thanks for this review! I had no idea that Mary Norton wrote anything besides children's books. The Borrowers books are so good; I can't wait to see what these stories are like.

Buried In Print

Wow: I have never seen a copy of this collection, so am thrilled to see and hear more about it now. (It's been on my list of Missing Virago Classics for years, and I can't tell you how many bookstores whose N shelves I've checked for it!) I re-read The Borrowers books a couple of summers ago, and quite enjoyed them, so I am now doubly curious about her short fiction.

Clive John Edwards

Some years ago I had a spell of reading Mary Norton, Mollie Panter-Downes, Mavis Gallant and a few other shprt story writers. Because I read them all about the same time (and because I'm forgetting more than I remember nowadays) they are all mixed up in my mind. It's a sad state of affairs!
What I do recall is reading The Borrowers for the first time at the age of 21. I was working in a children's library and reading my way through all the classics I'd not read before. I loved it.


Another really wonderful-sounding collection. I will look for it, because I love stories that connect me with other women and how they reacted to and felt about life.


You are such a tease! What are the stories like? Are you saving it for another post? Please say you are :)


Now I want to reread the Borrowers and will have to see if my library has a copy of the first book at least. I loved the idea of a little family living in the walls of a house! It would be fun to see if there are other stories in old Women's Day magazines (I wonder if they have archives online or if my library owns it on microfiche). It is a fun thought to think your mom might have been reading her stories while you were reading the books! :)


It was pure chance for me as I hadn't connected her with The Borrowers stories, so it was serendipity really. A lucky find I now think. I love short stories and for a very long time I wouldn't even buy a story collection. Now I have quite a variety of short story collections and have several on the go at the moment. I think, too, that she really wrote about what she knew and experienced after having read the stories and learned something of her life.


Am always happy to pass on a good find with other readers! :) I'm not sure if she wrote any other books for adults--other than the stories, but I am quite curious now about her. I think I will be revisiting her children's stories now, too. Definitely a collection to be on the look out for.


I think you would like this one very much! It is indeed right up your alley. I have a few particular favorites from the collection, but I liked each story I read and looked forward to it each time I picked it up. Hopefully you can find a cheap copy fairly easily! :)


It's interesting to think how many writers wrote for both audiences. In some cases I think they wanted to be known for their adult fiction but the books they wrote for children eclipsed all their other work (A.A. Milne comes to mind especially). This is a collection I can heartily recommend!


And here I bought it on a whim! :) I love short stories so bought it based on the sound of the title, which I liked, the fact that it was stories rather than a novel and dare I admit, this, the fact that the cover was so appealing to me! Keep watching for it--it's most definitely worth adding to your Virago collection. I hadn't meant to start reading it, but once I did, I just wanted to keep going. Now I'll be rereading The Borrowers myself.


I think I do the same thing as well--I love MPD and have read her short stories and a couple of her novels. Still want to read her New Yorker columns. I have yet to read Mavis Gallant, but she is on my list! Unfortunately as time passes books--or at least the details from the stories--begin to fade from my mind, or become hazy at least. What fun to work in a children's library. I missed reading all sorts of classics as a child, too, and do want to read more now--I've yet to read any this year but always to hope to squeeze in a few anyway.


This really is a lovely collection and I think you'd like it very much. She certainly knew the audience she was writing for--it sounds as though she was writing specifically for an American audience of the 50s--I love that era, so it's now wonder these stories clicked with me.


That was bad of me, wasn't it?! I saw how long my post was getting and I hadn't even started talking about the stories, so I sort of fizzled there in the end. I originally was going to write about my favorite stories, and perhaps I'll still do that you've asked! :)


I like the title. In a way it works on two levels, they are stories which helped privide bread and butter and since they seem to be about smal and large but domestic things, the title is perfect in that regard too. I'll have to keep her in mind.


What a fascinating post! I love learning about the lives of authors, and about the way authors earned their livings in other eras. Her name sounded familiar and of course, The Borrowers! I read that as a child though recall little of it now. Did she write adult novels too, do you know? I'm thinking of how good Richmal Crompton's adult novels were....


It does, you're right. I think I was assuming she meant domestic type stories when I first picked the book up, and then read the intro, which was really interesting! I like the idea of writing the stories to pay for her bread and butter. Now to decide whether to pick up a new story collection or try and finish one already in progress--though I still do want to read a few of Elizabeth Bowen't stories-I guess it will have to be this weekend!


It is interesting reading about their lives. I like learning about how they got on while writing. I totally didn't connect her name with The Borrowers. I would love to read one or two of them again. I don't think she wrote any other novels--for adults that is. Just the short stories. And I like Richmal Crompton, too. I have one unread novel by her--waiting for just the right moment!

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