The Camberwell Beauty and Other Stories

V.S. Pritchett

Introduced by William Trevor
Illustrated by Clifford Harper

William Trevor has selected and introduced 25 tales for this collection, acknowledging his debt to the author. V.S. Pritchett weaves his tales from the fabric of ordinary lives, the results by turns melancholy and nostalgic.

Published price: US$ 74.95

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The Camberwell Beauty and Other Stories

'People are always in a state of regret’ said V. S. Pritchett, and indeed, an air of melancholy, of wasted purpose and missed opportunities hangs like an English mist over many of his stories. In ‘A Trip to the Seaside’, a retired, widowed salesman visits his old secretary hoping to rekindle a romance, only to uncover uncomfortable truths about both the present and a past he has suppressed. In ‘Tea with Mrs Bittell’, an older, well-to-do woman condescends to invite a younger man ‘outside her own class’ to tea, spurred by their apparent mutual disappointments in life.

William Trevor has selected and introduced 25 tales for this collection, acknowledging his debt to the author. V.S. Pritchett weaves his tales from the fabric of ordinary lives, the results by turns melancholy and nostalgic.

Production Details

The Camberwell Beauty and Other Stories book

Selected and introduced by William Trevor

Illustrated by Clifford Harper

Bound in cloth

Printed and blocked with a design by Clifford Harper

Set in Goudy

Frontispiece and 10 colour illustrations

408 pages

Book Size: 9½" × 6¼"

A master of the short story

‘He is a writer who delineates a unique world, and the vivid genius of his voice, encompassing so many other voices – seedy, lush, excitable – takes only a line or two to make itself felt’
SPECTATOR

Pritchett skilfully evokes the tiny acts of courage, betrayal and deception that make up the petty tragedies of ordinary life. In his dense, many-layered tales, whole vistas exist just beyond the story’s confines; characters and plot linger in the mind long after the final page is turned. Hilda in ‘When My Girl Comes Home’ is feared dead in a Japanese POW camp. Only her mother keeps faith, and slaves to save money for her lost daughter. Hilda returns at last, well-groomed and sleek, talking of the man who will write a book of her life. Is she a fantasist? A whore, as other women whisper? Or a loving daughter desperate for a chance of freedom and happiness? In ‘The Camberwell Beauty’, the beautiful but damaged Isabel has married an elderly antiques dealer: ‘He likes to look at me. I am the most precious thing he has’. ‘That isn’t love,’ cries the narrator, but his own passion mirrors the antique dealer’s lust to possess another’s ‘treasure’.

‘I think it is an excellent selection, with most of my favourites, and of course is beautifully produced’
OLIVER PRITCHETT

Pritchett inspired generations of short-story writers, and William Trevor is one of many to acknowledge a debt. Trevor has personally selected and introduced 25 stories for this collection, taken from every stage in Pritchett’s luminous career.

‘One of the greatest short story writers England has ever produced’
INDEPENDENT

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