What's It Like Out?
By Penelope Gilliatt
Originally published in 1968, What's It Like Out? is the first of Penelope Gilliatt's celebrated short-story collections. In these blithe, glitteringly laconic tales we meet Fred and Arthur, comedians entwined in a relationship as symbiotic as the double act they perform; an adoring husband and wife whose relationship has haplessly degenerated into obdurate silence; a customs official who absconds with his young son to an airport hotel to flee from the news of his wife's affair; a professor whose heroic grasp of the ridiculous cloaks his vulnerability, and a literary agent whose reputation for frankness belies her personal need. Presenting love, friendship, loneliness and victorious stamina with her distinctive lucidity and comic sense, Penelope Gilliatt commemorates the singularity of the human character. Told just enough, we feel we have been told everything.