A View Of The Harbour
A Virago Modern Classic
By Elizabeth Taylor
An unforgettable picture of love, loss and the keeping up of appearances. Published as part of a beautifully designed series to mark the 40th anniversary of the Virago Modern Classics.
'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' - Elizabeth Bowen
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.
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
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) is increasingly recognised as one of the best British writers of the twentieth century. She wrote her first book, At Mrs Lippincote's, during the war while her husband was in the Royal Air Force, and this was followed by eleven further novels and a children's book, Mossy Trotter. Her acclaimed short stories appeared in publications including Vogue, the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.
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- Publication date:
29 Sep 2011
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She's a favourite of this writer. I've read this novel, set in a seaside town in the 1940s, five times and I'm itching to read it again. There's a mother from hell in it who makes me wince and chuckle — Jacqueline Wilson
There is a deceptive smoothness in her tone, or tone of voice, as in that of Evelyn Waugh; not a far-fetched comparison, for in the work of both writers the funny and the appalling lie side by side in close amity — Kingsley Amis
It is time that justice was done to Elizabeth Taylor... All her writings could be described as coming into the category of comedy. Comedy is the best vehicle for truths that are too fierce to be borne — Anita Brookner
Her best novels-At Mrs. Lippincote's (1945), A View of the Harbour (1947), A Game of Hide and Seek (1951)-are, in spite of their prim titles, funny, savage and full of loneliness and suppressed emotion. For her characters, as for their author, propriety is a survival mechanism, a way of keeping the show on the road — Rachel Cooke, Guardian