Monday, October 8, 2012

Tales of Provincial Life

I recently received a message from Abe Books promoting the new book by J K Rowling - The Casual Vacancy - and also providing a list of 25 novels depicting British Provincial Life.

Titles include:
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell [Jason is 13 and lives in a dull village in a dull county. This novel follows 13 months of his life.]

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson [Edgecombe St. Mary is a packed with characters including Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired).]

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald [A kind-hearted widow risks everything to open a bookshop in a town that doesn’t want a bookshop]

Emma by Jane Austen [Emma Woodhouse attempts to orchestrate romance in a small English town.]

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie [Lymstock seems quiet but then the poison-pen letters start arriving. Miss Marple to the rescue.]

Blott on the Landscape by Tom Sharpe [Property developer Sir Giles Lynchwood wants a new motorway built but opposition grows.]       

Middlemarch by George Eliot [Art, religion, science, politics, society, relationships – the best ever novel on provincial life?]    

The Brandons by Angela Thirkell [Misunderstandings and mishaps galore in a fictional county.]       

A Few Green Leaves by Barbara Pym [An anthropologist moves to a quiet Oxfordshire village to write a book about the inhabitants.]

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy [Never read it? A must-read for any man who has sold his wife & baby daughter at a country fair.]

The Orchard on Fire by Shena Mackay [Set in the 1950s the story of the Harlencys who leave their London pub for rural Kent.]

South Riding by Winifred Holtby [Lives, loves and sorrows in Yorkshire of headmistress Sarah Burton and many others.]

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell [A comic portrait of a Victorian village and its genteel inhabitants.]    

Mrs. Ames by E.F. Benson [Mrs Ames revels in her position of superiority in the the merry-go-round of dinner parties.]

Lark Rise to Candlefor by Flora Thompson [Based on Thompson’s own experiences of childhood and youth.]

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D. E. Stevenson [Written as a diary of an army officer’s wife in the 1930s, who moves to Scotland.]

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker [An 83-year-old woman is invented and causes havoc in a sleepy Buckinghamshire town.]       

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons [Flora Poste, orphaned at 20, goes to live with her relatives who live in utter chaos.]

On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin [The tale of identical twin brothers who toil on the family farm in Wales.]

Scenes from Provincial Life by William Cooper [Set in 1939, this novel tackles the life of a grammar school physics teacher.]

Waterland by Graham Swift [Murder, incest, guilt and insanity in the Fens of East Anglia – the story spans 240 years.]

Saville by David Story [Colin Saville grows up in a Yorkshire mining village against the background of war and industrialization.]

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield [The fictional journal of an upper-middle class woman in a Devon village during the 1930s.]
One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes [First published in 1947, this subtle novel presents a memorable portrait of post-war England.]               

Deadfolk by Charlie Williams [A small-town bouncer’s courage is questioned and he decides to prove himself.]       

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