Wednesday, 5 January 2011

V.S. Pritchett – Essential Stories

Acute and visual observations of everyday people and situations, exploring themes such as marital breakdowns, family relationships, religion, war, random everyday incidents and characters. Pritchett has a real knack for unearthing and animating his characters through razor-sharp visual descriptions and impressions of features, habits, emotions and expressions, galvanising them through unfolding events in
which humour and pathos are delivered with perfect timing. These stories often deal with eccentricity and absurdity in various levels of society, whether it be undertakers, chartered accountants, christian scientists, clerks, or drifters, and what is striking is Pritchett's ability to scratch away under the surface of normality, under the surface of drab everyday existence, to reveal glimpses of what is really going on, or to infer what will or might happen.

Taken from “The Sailor”

“He was lifting his knees high and putting his hand up, when I first saw him, as if, crossing the road through that stinging rain, he were breaking through the bead curtain of a Pernambuco bar. I knew he was going to stop me. This part of the Euston Road is the beat of men who
want a cup of tea or their fare to a job in Luton or some outlying town.

“Beg pardon, chum,” he said in an anxious hot-potato voice. “Is that

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