Monday, June 23, 2008

The Whipple Report

Every Persephone book looks exactly alike. The beautiful pearl-gray covered books differ only in the gorgeous fabric design endpapers. The fabulous thing is, if you’re a Mad Housewife, that you can always say it’s the same book.

Typical conversation:

“Don’t you have a book that looks like that?”

Evasion. Then the earnest explanation about the gray covers.

“Hoomph.” Back to the newspaper.

In fact you are living in a Dorthy Whipple novel.

Persephone specializes in middle-class domestic novels. And Dorothy Whipple is one of its most popular writers: four titles are published, The Priory, They Knew Mr. Knight, Someone at a Distance, and They Were Sisters. Whipple, a sensible and sensitive writer, draws you into her world. Her style is polished and reserved, compelling yet unobtrusive. THE THREE SISTERS, published in 1942, is small, sensible masterpiece, yet it. has no chance except with Persephone.
THE THREE SISTERS is the story of three sisters. They will put you in mind of the Brontes. Lucy, the oldest (Villette), must struggle to bring up her siblings after her mother dies; Charlotte, the second daughter, marries an abusive husband and must escape through drink and drugs , while Vera, the gorgeous sister, rarely tells the truth. There are three essentially unhappy marriages, though Lucy, whose husband at least is quiet, is does not face the truth about her marriage. Charlotte’s husband terrifies her and her children; Vera’s husband, much in love with her, bores her.

This is highly recommended by moi.

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