Page 91 - PB Cat 1999-2021
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The Winds of Heaven
Charles Dickens’s great-granddaughter has long been a Persephone favourite because of Mariana (No. 2).The heroine of this 1955 novel is a 60-ish widow, left with no money, who is shunted from one to another of her three daughters. So many of Monica Dickens’s heroines have (as AS Byatt writes in her After-
‘In a Bar’ 1943 Frederick William Elwell (1870–1958) © Hull Museums/Bridgeman Art Library
A 1950s furnishing fabric in a private collection
word) ‘a gallant and attractive innocence, a wish to be useful which is gradually worn down by circumstances entirely beyond their very ordinary capacities. All are saved, or at least enabled to go on living, by love.’ The Winds of Heaven, continues AS Byatt, ‘is a novel about ageing that works because its emotions are muted and right, because it is not a tear-jerker... It is not King Lear – “Dear daughter, I confess that I am old – Age is unnecessary...” But it has the ring of that truth.’ And Jane Brocket of yarnstorm wrote to tell us that she found this ‘such a moving, upsetting yet funny and insightful book – completely wonderful.’
 NO 90
328pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155806

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