Persephone Books is the most heavenly bookshop. The company reprints neglected 2oth century novels mostly written by women. In a time of economic meltdown nothing is more reassuring than sitting down with a good book and a cup of tea. The books printed by Persephone are ideal for those seeking a nostalgic read. You can order online but a trip to the bookshop on Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury is well worth it. The shop is decorated with old WW2 posters, soft furnishings and lashings of books all over the walls, floors and tables. Persephone Books is what a bookshop should be.
One of their key authors is Dorothy Whipple. They have reprinted five of her wonderful books, so far. I have been reading my way through and I really do recommend all of them but particularly Someone at a Distance. Whipple’s observations of human character are both astute and piercing. Someone at a Distance probes the great theme of love and portrays an ordinary family trying to cope with the apparent mid-life crisis and betrayal of the husband. For a searing account of human nature at its worst I recommend They Knew Mr Knight. Another family and another betrayal but of a very different nature.
I recently read an interesting blog posting on the impact of economic recession on fiction which supports the theory that we are looking for escapism through literature in these credit crunch times. It seems that Bloomsbury publishers have realised this and joined the Persephone bandwagon as they are publishing out of print titles that come under their term “recession-busting nostalgia”. These will be published from July this year and they have called the collection of books ‘The Bloomsbury Group’. I look forward to reading these.