Page 64 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 64

 The endpaper is taken from ‘Horse’s Head’, a 1938–9 screen-printed linen by Lucienne Day.
Princes in the Land
This 1938 novel has the same theme as Hostages to Fortune, a great Persephone favourite: it too is about a woman, living in a ramshackle farmhouse outside Oxford, who brings up a family and is left, when the children are on the verge of adulthood, asking herself not only what it was all for but what was her own life for? Yet the questions are asked subtly and readably.
Having shown us how everything is made bearable for Patricia if her children can be at the centre of her life and, more importantly, if they grow up to fulfil her ideals, Joanna Cannan shows her happiness being slowly destroyed as she watches her two sons and her daughter take paths that are anathema to her.Yet, of course, she can do nothing about it; nor, sensibly, does she try.
From 1922 onwards, when she was 26, Joanna Cannan published a book a year for nearly forty years – novels, detective
Joanna Cannan in 1919
stories and the first ‘pony’ book (first in the sense that the focus was on a pony- mad girl rather than a horse or pony), a genre that her daughters Josephine, Diana and Christine Pullein-Thompson were to make very much their own.
Joanna Cannan’s writing, says the ODNB, was ‘witty, satirical, even cynical; she presented clashes between idealists and materialists, with no easy solutions.’ Princes in the Land has a thematic bite that Persephone readers will find hard to forget.
  NO 63
216pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155530

   62   63   64   65   66