The 20 stories in this collection, which have been freshly assembled from Sylvia Townsend Warner's archives, have never before been published in book form. They are, therefore, an exceptional and wholly unexpected treasure trove.
In these stories the author of the classic Lolly Willowes is at her most witty and beguiling. Written over five decades, from 1929 to 1977, they are crowded with vivid, irrepressible characters - from the nymph hunting chorister to the garrulous mother warding off her daughter's unwanted suitors - and equally animated objects and incidents. There are tales of romantic love, of the mysteries of marriage, of gardens and houses, of possessions and those that fancy they own them. The centerpiece of the collection is a series of five linked episodes concerning one singular establishment, the Abbey Antique Galleries, its eccentric proprietor, Mr Edom and his erratic staff, clientele and wares.
With a foreword by William Maxwell, her long time editor at the New Yorker, and edited by Michael Steinman, The Music at Long Verney is both an important supplement to Sylvia Townsend Warner's legacy and the perfect introduction to her light wit and spry social observation.