The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This anthology is in many was a 'best of the best', containing gems from thirty-four of Britain's outstanding contemporary writers. It is a book to dip into, to read from cover to cover, to lend to friends and read again. It includes stories of love and crime, stories touched with comedy and the supernatural, stories set in London, Los Angeles, Bucharest and Tokyo. Above all, as you will discover, it satisfies Samuel Butler's anarchic pleasure principle: 'I should like to like Schumann's music better than I do; I daresay I could make myself like it better if I tried; but I do not like having to try to make myself like things; I like things that make me like them at once and no trying at all...'
grill-room. ‘You organized that badly, Mr Mileson.’ ‘I organized nothing. I know the rules of these places. I repeated them to you. You gave me no chance to organize.’ ‘A chop and an egg or something. Da Tanka at least could have got us soup.’ In 1931 Mr Mileson had committed fornication with the maid in his parents’ house. It was the only occasion, and he was glad that adultery was not expected of him with Mrs da Tanka. In it she would be more experienced than he, and he did not relish the
this gave their affair its piquancy. But now – when she opened the door – no William, and the yawn, its hopes and its irony, died on her mouth. A very large woman, taller than herself, filled the doorway from top to bottom, an enormous blob of pink jersey and green skirt, the jersey low and loose at the neck, a face and body inflated to the point of speechlessness. She even seemed to be asleep with her large blue eyes open. ‘Yes?’ said Berenice. The woman woke up and looked unbelievingly at
dark brows and clear grey eyes. A sensible face. She brushed thick healthy black hair and thought: Yet that’s the reflection of a madwoman. How very strange! Much more to the point if what looked back at me was the gingery green-eyed demon with his dry meagre smile… Why wasn’t Matthew agreeing? After all, what else could he do? She was breaking her part of the bargain and there was no way of forcing her to keep it: that her spirit, her soul, should live in this house, so that the people in it
told me nothing of the kind. I felt I had no right at all to be there, for it wasn’t, now, the house of Elise acting by proxy for some unknown couple. It was the house of a famous modern poet. The thought that at any moment he and his family might walk in and find me there terrified me. I insisted that Elise should open the bathroom door and tell me to my face that there was no possible chance of their returning for many days to come. Then I began to think about the house itself, which Elise was
pride. She knew as much of Mr Fielding’s financial affairs and resources as he did himself. It was simply not possible. With the sexual possibilities, the sergeant ran into an even more granite-like wall. She had categorically denied all knowledge before, she had nothing further to add. Mr Fielding was the last man to indulge in a hole-in-the-corner liaison. He had far too much self-respect. Jennings changed his tack. ‘Did he say anything that Friday morning about the dinner the previous