Someone At A Distance

The best recommendation I can give this book is that I lent it to my mum recently when she was over from Australia and she loved it so much it (almost) took precedence over her grandchildren. Given that she absolutely dotes on her grandchildren and only gets to see them twice a year, that is very high praise indeed.

But then publisher Persephone Books makes very few mistakes over which 10 books every year it rescues from obscurity – and author Dorothy Whipple is a firm favourite with then and with me.

Someone At A Distance is a familiar story – a middle-aged man becomes entranced by a French girl and abandons a seemingly happy marriage to pursue his fancy with predictable consequences.

The prose is simple, but what I love about Dorothy Whipple (and what I also loved about Greenbanks, another of her books published by Persephone) is that her characters are real people and their motivations believable.

In fact, it is the author’s astute observation of both male and female characters that sets her apart and show that you don’t need outlandish plots, larger than life characters of 400 pages of poorly written soft porn to make a very readable book.

Very highly recommended – by me and my mum...