Elizabeth Taylor - The Soul Of Kindness - Little, Brown Book Group

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The Soul Of Kindness

By Elizabeth Taylor

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

A brilliant novel about the damage caused by relentless 'niceness'. Uncritical, encouraging, 'the soul of kindness', Flora's help is the cruelest hindrance to those who love her most.

'Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth. As a reader, I have found huge pleasure in returning to Taylor's novels and short stories many times over. As a writer I've returned to her too - in awe of her achievements, and trying to work out how she does it' Sarah Waters

A brilliant novel about the damage caused by relentless 'niceness'. Uncritical, encouraging, 'the soul of kindness', Flora's help is the cruelest hindrance to those who love her most.

'Here I am!' Flora called to Richard as she went downstairs. For a second, Meg felt disloyalty. It occurred to her of a sudden that Flora was always saying that, and that it was in the tone of one giving a lovely present.

Elegant, blonde and beautiful, Flora has everything under control: her perfect home, her husband Richard, her friend Meg, adoring Kit, and the writer Patrick.

Flora entrances everyone, dangling visions of happiness and success before their spellbound eyes. All are bewitched by this golden tyrant. Except, that is, for the clear-eyed painter, Liz, who can see that Flora's kindness is the sweetest poison of them all.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780748125302
  • Publication date: 02 Dec 2010
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
The Soul of Kindness, like many of Elizabeth Taylor's novels, is so expert that it seems effortless. As it progresses, it seems as if the cast are so fully rounded that all the novelist had to do was place them, successively, in one setting after another and observe how they reacted to each other ... Taylor is one of the hidden treasures of the English novel — Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph
Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth. As a reader, I have found huge pleasure in returning to Taylor's novels and short stories many times over. As a writer I've returned to her too - in awe of her achievements, and trying to work out how she does it — Sarah Waters
Always intelligent, often subversive and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person's dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, icy wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail - the perfect toast to the quiet horror of domestic life — Valerie Martin
Sphere

Bright Young Dead

Jessica Fellowes
Authors:
Jessica Fellowes
Virago

Noel Streatfeild's Christmas Stories

Noel Streatfeild
Authors:
Noel Streatfeild
Fleet

The Bus on Thursday

Shirley Barrett
Authors:
Shirley Barrett

'Intoxicating' Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation'Barrett's brilliant second novel plummets headlong into a darkly funny tale' Mail on SundayBridget Jones meets Twin Peaks in this black comedy about a woman's retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting her.It wasn't just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett's life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. The next thing she knew, her breast was being removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was subsequently inundated with cupcakes, besieged by judgy support groups, and the ungrateful recipient of hand-knitted sweaters from her mum.Luckily, Eleanor finds that Talbingo, a remote little town, needs a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker upped and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It's not only the communion-wine-swigging priest prone to rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It's living alone in a remote cabin, with no phone service or wifi, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door, and who is knocking on it late at night.Riotously funny, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett's The Bus on Thursday is a wicked, weird, wild ride for fans of Maria Semple, Stephen King and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. And when have those three writers ever appeared in the same sentence?

Abacus

Twopence Coloured

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick HornbyWest Kensington - grey area of rot, and caretaking, and cat-slinking basements. West Kensington - drab asylum for the driven and cast-off genteel!' Patrick Hamilton was acutely conscious that his third novel (first published in 1928) was longer and 'much grimmer' than his previous and well-received productions. Twopence Coloured is the story of nineteen-year-old Jackie Mortimer, who leaves Hove in search of a life on the London stage, only to become entangled in 'provincial theatre' and complex affairs of the heart with two brothers, Richard and Charles Gissing. The novel, unavailable for many years, is a gimlet-eyed portrait of the theatrical vocation, and fully exhibits Hamilton's celebrated gift for conjuring London - the 'vast, thronged, unknown, hooting, electric-lit, dark-rumbling metropolis.

Piatkus

The Palace of Lost Dreams

Charlotte Betts
Authors:
Charlotte Betts

A sumptuously evocative story set in 18th century India from bestselling author Charlotte Betts, perfect for readers of Dinah Jefferies, Lucinda Riley and Jenny Ashcroft.'Romantic, engaging and hugely satisfying' Katie Fforde on The Apothecary's DaughterIndia, 1798. Beatrice Sinclair, a grieving young widow facing financial destitution, has travelled from Hampshire to Hyderabad to visit her brother, an employee of the British East India Company. There, she is astonished to discover that he has married a beautiful Indian girl and lives with his wife's extended family in a dilapidated palace, the Jahanara Mahal - famed for the theft of a fabled diamond many years ago.As an outsider in an unfamiliar world, Bee faces many challenges - not least of all building a new and meaningful life after the heartbreak she has endured. Meanwhile the French and British forces become locked in a battle over India's riches, and matters are complicated further by the presence of the dashing Harry Wyndam: a maverick ex-soldier and suspected spy.With rebellion in the air, Bee must decide where her loyalties lie . . .Reader reviews for Charlotte Betts:'You will never be disappointed with a Charlotte Betts book!' Amazon reviewer'Well-written and thought-provoking' Goodreads reviewer'A fantastic story loaded with history' Amazon reviewer

Virago

The Seventh Cross

Anna Seghers
Authors:
Anna Seghers

A rediscovered German classic novel from 1942, never before published in the UK, The Seventh Cross is both a gripping escape story and a powerful novel of resistance. 'At once a suspenseful manhunt story and a knowing portrait of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler's Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event' JOSEPH KANON, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin'A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight' Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in WinterSeven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers' fingers and it becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding his escape will pay with their life.The Seventh Cross powerfully documents the insidious rise of a fascist regime - the seething paranoia, the sudden arrests, the silence and fear.'A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties' Simon Mawer, author of The Glass Room'It was [Seghers] who taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision' - Gunter GrassThe Seventh Cross was written by one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century. Her aim was to write, 'A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.' She had four copies of the manuscript: one was destroyed in an air raid; a friend lost the second copy while fleeing the Nazis; another was found by the Gestapo; only the fourth copy survived, which, fortunately, she sent to her publisher in America just before she escaped Nazi-occupied France. Published in 1942, The Seventh Cross was an immediate bestseller and was the basis for an MGM film starring Spencer Tracy in 1944. It has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Fleet

The Burning Girl

Claire Messud
Authors:
Claire Messud

A bracing and hypnotic portrait of the complexities of female friendship from the New York Times bestselling author of The Woman Upstairs.Julia Robinson and Cassie Burnes have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge: while Julia comes from a stable, happy, middle-class family, Cassie never knew her father, who died when she was an infant, and has an increasingly tempestuous relationship with her single mother, Bev. When Bev becomes involved with the mysterious Anders Shute, Cassie feels cruelly abandoned. Disturbed, angry and desperate for answers, she sets out on a journey that will put her own life in danger, and shatter her oldest friendship. Compact, compelling, and ferociously sad, The Burning Girl is at once a story about childhood, friendship and community, and a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about childhood and friendship. Claire Messud brilliantly mixes folklore and Bildungsroman, exploring the ways in which our made-up stories, and their consequences, become real.

Sphere

The Long, Long Trail

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Authors:
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Robinson

The Curious History of Dating

Nichi Hodgson
Authors:
Nichi Hodgson
Virago

Mossy Trotter

Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Ross
Contributors:
Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Ross
Virago

Funeral Games

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'The Alexander Trilogy contains some of Renault's finest writing. Lyrical, wise, compelling: the novels are a wonderful imaginative feat' SARAH WATERSIn the final novel of her stunning trilogy, Mary Renault vividly imagines the life of Alexander the Great, the charismatic leader whose drive and ambition created a legend.Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three, leaving behind an empire that stretched from Greece and Egypt to India. After Alexander's death in 323 B.C. his only direct heirs were two unborn sons and a simpleton half-brother. Every long-simmering faction exploded into the vacuum of power. Wives, distant relatives and generals all vied for the loyalty of the increasingly undisciplined Macedonian army. Most failed and were killed in the attempt. For no one possessed the leadership to keep the great empire from crumbling. But Alexander's legend endured to spread into worlds he had seen only in dreams.'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' - HILARY MANTEL'The Alexander Trilogy stands as one of the most important works of fiction in the 20th century . . . it represents the pinnacle of [Renault's] career . . . Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty. It's a literary conjuring trick like all historical fiction - it can only ever be an approximation of the truth. But in Renault's hands, the trick is so convincing and passionately conjured' Antonia Senior, The Times

Virago

Complete Short Stories

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: one of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth - Sarah WatersElizabeth Taylor, highly acclaimed author of classic novels such as Angel, A Game of Hide and Seek and Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, is also renowned for her powerful, acutely observed stories. Here for the first time, the stories - including some only recently rediscovered - are collected in one volume. From the awkward passions of lonely holiday-makers to the anticipation of three school friends preparing for their first dance, from the minor jealousies and triumphs of marriage to tales of outsiders struggling to adapt to the genteel English countryside, with a delicate, witty touch Elizabeth Taylor illuminates the nuances of ordinary lives.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

The Sleeping Beauty

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

INTRODUCED BY DAVID BADDIELA subtle love story by one of the most accomplished writers of the 20th centuryVinny Tumulty is a quiet, sensible man. When he goes to stay at a seaside town, his task is to comfort a bereaved friend. Vinny is prepared for a solemn few days of tears and consolation. But on the evening of his arrival, he looks out of the window at the sunset and catches sight of a mysterious, romantic figure: a beautiful woman walking by the seashore. Before the week is over Vinny has fallen in love, completely and utterly, for the first time in his middle-aged life. Emily, though, is a sleeping beauty, her secluded life hiding bitter secrets from the past.

Virago

At Mrs Lippincote's

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

The debut novel from Elizabeth Taylor - shortlisted for the Booker Prize*Mrs Lippincote's house, with its mahogany furniture and yellowing photographs, stands as a reminder of all the certainties that have vanished with the advent of war. Temporarily, this is home for Julia, who has joined her husband Roddy at the behest of the RAF. Although she can accept the pomposities of service life, Julia's honesty and sense of humour prevent her from taking her role as seriously as her husband, that leader of men, might wish; for Roddy, merely love cannot suffice - he needs homage as well as admiration. And Julia, while she may be a most unsatisfactory officer's wife, is certainly no hypocrite.*'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' Elizabeth Bowen 'No writer has described the English middle classes with more gently devastating accuracy' Rebecca Abrams, Spectator 'A Game of Hide and Seek showcases much of what makes Taylor a great novelist: piercing insight, a keen wit and a genuine sense of feeling for her characters' Elizabeth Day, Guardian

Virago

A Wreath Of Roses

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

Palladian

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

An amusing, wry homage to Jane Eyre by one of the best novelists of the twentieth century.When newly orphaned Cassandra Dashwood arrives as governess to little Sophy, the scene seems set for the archetypal romance between young girl and austere widowed employer. Strange secrets abound in the ramshackle house. But conventions are subverted in this atmospheric novel: one of its worlds is suffused with classical scholarship and literary romance, but the other is chaotic, quarrelsome and even farcical. Cassandra is to discover that in real life, tragedy, comedy and acute embarrassment are never far apart.

Virago

Blaming

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

Angel

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth - Sarah Waters* A classic tale of fantasy and self-delusion from one of the most acclaimed British novelists of the twentieth centuryWriting stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . .After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of - and perhaps because of - its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book - an elderly lady, romanticising behind lace curtains? A mustachioed rogue? They were not expecting it to be a pale, serious teenage girl, sitting before them without a hint of irony. *'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' Elizabeth Bowen 'No writer has described the English middle classes with more gently devastating accuracy' Rebecca Abrams, Spectator 'A Game of Hide and Seek showcases much of what makes Taylor a great novelist: piercing insight, a keen wit and a genuine sense of feeling for her characters' Elizabeth Day, Guardian

Virago

The Wedding Group

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

A View Of The Harbour

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

She let herself out of the large, untidy house and into her own beautiful, hyacinth-scented one. She sat down in the bay-window of her bedroom and combed her hair before the mirror. She took it all down and built it up again, but there was no one to see what she had done.*In the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for - and in on - each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high. Beautiful divorcee Tory is painfully involved with her neighbour, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory's best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their daughter Prudence is aware, however, and is appalled by the treachery she observes. Mrs Bracey, an invalid whose grasp on life is slipping, forever peers from her window, constantly prodding her daughters for news of the outside world. And Lily Wilson, a lonely young widow, is frightened of her own home. Into their lives steps Bertram, a retired naval officer with the unfortunate capacity to inflict lasting damage while trying to do good.*'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' - Elizabeth Bowen 'Always intelligent, often subversive and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person's dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, icy wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail' - Valerie Martin'A magnificent and underrated mid-20th-century writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike' - David Baddiel, Independent