Category Short Story Collections

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Lunch with Mr. Biddle

Winthrop Biddle, the main character in Lunch with Mr. Biddle (published on 7 December 1940), is a confirmed bachelor who is not about to let the war completely cramp his lifestyle. As a popular member in the high society, Mr. Biddle had managed to get away from his Devonshire house and live with his affluent […]

Good Evening, Mrs Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: As the Fruitful Vine

Lucy Grant, the protagonist in As the Fruitful Vine (published on 31 August 1940), is a young woman who has never had her moment to shine in front of her family and friends. It’s not because Lucy never had anything worth celebrating – she has had a few big moments. But the timing has never […]

Good Evening, Mrs.Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: This Flower, Safety

In This Flower, Safety (published on 6 July 1940), Miss Mildred Ewing, a wealthy spinster from London is trying to escape the war and go somewhere that promises her safety. Ever since the war began, Miss Ewing has been living at Hotel San Remo in the seaside with her elderly maid, Sparks, leaving behind her […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: It’s the Real Thing This Time

It’s the Real Thing This Time (published on 15 June 1940) is a story that is a bit similar to Meeting at the Pringles’. In this story, the protagonist is retired Major Marriot. He had fought in WWI, but now in his dotage, he has turned into a gardener attending to vegetable patches in his […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: In Clover

In Clover (published on 13 April 1940) is another story concerning London evacuees and their hostesses from the countryside during the Blitz. In it, the twenty-four-year-old Mrs. Fletcher is to play hostess at her manor to the Clarks – a pregnant mother and her three children. Mrs. Fletcher is from an upper-middle-class family, and her […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Mrs. Ramsay’s War

In the first Letter from London Mollie wrote on 3rd September 1939, she mentions as the Londoners began to evacuate the city, the English from the countryside were trying their best to overcome their traditional “dislike for strangers,” and open up their homes to a number of unwelcome guests who would be staying with them […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Meeting at the Pringles’

For most adults, wartime can be a stress inducer. However to the Pringle sisters, the protagonists in Meeting at the Pringles’ it has quite the opposite effect! Mollie Panter-Downes’s second letter to the New York Times written in January 1940 is about a group of women who have rallied to do their bit for the […]

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes: Date With Romance

I’ve been a fan of Mollie Panter-Downes’s writing ever since I read two of her stories in The Persephone Book of Short Stories. Her stories were the most evocative in the collection, so when I visited the Persephone Bookstore in 2017, it was her books that I bought. Good Evening, Mrs Craven is Mollie’s wartime […]

The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: The First Person

I think the title story is my favorite among the pronoun-themed stories in this collection. In it, the narrator is a woman possibly in her fifties in a new relationship with “you” who is a bit younger than herself. Because of her age, the narrator is not sure if she wants to pursue this relationship. […]

The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: Astute Fiery Luxurious

In Astute Fiery Luxurious, the narrator who is staying home ill accepts a parcel from the postman before discovering it is a misdelivery. Its address is correct, but no one by the name of the addressee lives in the narrator’s apartment, and there’s something about the parcel that unsettles the narrator. When the narrator’s partner […]

The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: Writ

I love the premise in Writ! In it, the protagonist is a forty-something bisexual woman. After being passionately kissed by a young woman – albeit a total stranger – in broad daylight in the middle of London, the protagonist comes home to find her fourteen-year-old self waiting for her! Although the protagonist is beyond happy […]

The First Person and other stories by Ali Smith: I Know Something You Don’t Know

I Know Something You Don’t Know is a story about Anthony, a little boy suffering from a mysterious illness. Anthony had come home during lunch hour at school one day four months ago and hasn’t been able to leave his bed since then. His mother, Harriet has taken him to see multiple doctors. But none […]

The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: The Second Person

The Second Person is another story in this collection where Smith is focusing on the use of pronouns. Unlike The Third Person which has multiple story-lines, The Second Person is based on a single plot where two lovers are imagining what they’d do in a musical instruments store. The narrator pictures her partner (their genders […]

The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: No Exit

In No Exit, the unnamed narrator is a woman at a movie theater who witnesses another woman walking through a fire exit during a film screening. The narrator had been to this theater before, so she knows the door the other woman went through is an illegal emergency exit that leads nowhere and locks from […]

The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: The History of History

In The History of History, the narrator is a teenage girl impacted by her mother’s nervous breakdown. About a month ago out of the blue, the narrator’s mother had told her family that she’s done playing the roles of wife and mother, and insisted that they call her by her name, which is Margaret. We […]