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Books By Elizabeth Eliot
‘As far as I am concerned, Aunt Violet, I don’t want another penny of your money. I can go out and earn my bread’ and she saw a distinct picture of herself working her fingers to the bone and being seduced by goodness knows whom.
Obsessed with money and class and all the appearances of a sophisticated life, but coming herself from genteel poverty, Cathie Martell rarely loses her focus on getting what she wants, regardless of the feelings or happiness of those who get in her way. Her Aunt Violet, for example, who finances her education, or her first husband, or the man she’s set her sights on to be her second (not to mention that man’s current wife).
Elizabeth Eliot’s third novel, first published in 1953, follows an utterly self-absorbed, superficial woman from her teens to her second marriage. But if that sounds unsavoury, you clearly haven't encountered Eliot’s giddy prose, as packed with clever insights and a sharp eye for detail as it is with humour. This new edition includes an introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.
Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press have also reprinted three of Eliot’s other long-neglected novels—Alice, Henry, and Cecil—in their first new editions for more than half a century.
“Malicious, alarmingly observant and continually amusing” Sunday Times
“There are sad patches in this book because wickedness is a sad business, but also enchantingly funny ones. Lady Elizabeth’s writing is light and witty as ever—delicious conversation pieces again—and her judgment of people is always penetrating and often tolerant” Time and Tide
“Written with a humour that is adult without being cynical and from an outlook that is observant without being critical” The Sphere
But the servants! Anything might happen to them. They might go in a train to Woolwich and meet the love of their lives, or be murdered almost for the asking. Not that one wanted to be murdered exactly, but there was frustration in being denied the possibility.
From an author The Queen called “a humorist of the first order” comes the deliciously dark tale of the strange and woeful young womanhood of Margaret, the narrator of Elizabeth Eliot’s debut novel, and her friend Alice, from their final year at boarding-school in the late 1920s until just before World War II.
The girls have adventures at school, are presented at court, and experience the vicissitudes of high society and their eccentric, increasingly impoverished families. Alice marries, unhappily, and involves Margaret in her hardships, until she suddenly decides—with fabulous success—to become an actress. And through it all the young women engage in loopy existential ponderings about their fates, gleefully detailing the radical instability of their world. Anxious characters marooned in a world without safe harbour—a tragic circumstance, but, in Eliot’s hands, an absolutely hilarious one. Evoking by turn the morbid humour of Barbara Comyns and the high society sorrows of Rachel Ferguson, Alice is very much its own brilliant confection.
Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press also publish three of Eliot’s later novels—Henry, Mrs. Martell, and Cecil—all back in print for the first time in more than half a century. They all feature a new introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.
“Miraculously good . . . delightful and wise and irreproachably understanding” The Bookman
“This is surely the most impressive first novel of the year. Elizabeth Eliot is a writer to watch” The Queen
“A first novel of singular originality . . . so endearing in spirit that it is hard not to feel for it a kind of personal affection” Daily Telegraph
“I can pay her no higher compliment than to say that the nearest thing to it I know in literature are the deliciously malicious books of Elizabeth and Her German Garden.” The Sphere
“An enticing book” Tatler
“Miss Eliot is a superb portrait painter” The Spectator
As I waited for the carriage I realized that whereas before I had been accustomed to think of her as a selfish and often foolish woman I now regarded her as a veritable ogress.
Lady Anne’s position as the wife of Charles Guthrie gives her a unique (but limited) perspective on the relationship between her husband’s stepbrother Cecil and the attractive but dominating Lady Guthrie. As she narrates this, Elizabeth Eliot’s brilliant final novel, Anne creates a portrait of a ghoulish woman who ruins her son’s life as thoroughly as if she set out to do so intentionally. Yet there are no easy answers here, and Anne’s speculations and judgments sometimes shed as much light on her own relationships and experiences as they do on Cecil and his mother.
In Eliot’s skilled hands, the apparently simple tale of a dysfunctional family becomes an elegant and witty meditation on our inability to ever know the complete truth about those around us.
Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press also publish three of Elizabeth Eliot’s earlier novels—Alice, Henry, and Mrs. Martell—all available for the first time in more than half a century. This new edition includes an introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.
“She is a humorist of the first order, and in a style of humour that is particularly British” The Queen
“As she has already shown, Elizabeth Eliot is a gifted natural story-teller” Daily Mail
‘The trouble with you, Anne, is that you’re always imagining things.’ Who had said that? Probably mother. Or the governess before she left to get married. How disagreeable, and it was all the fault of the sub-conscious. . . . Why didn’t the sub-conscious ever turn up things like: ‘Anne, how beautiful you are looking today.’ Or even: ‘That’s a good girl finishing up all your dinner.’
Anne Palliser is insecure, morbid, and a bit off-balance—in other words, a perfect Elizabeth Eliot narrator. She escapes an overbearing mother and moves to London, working as secretary to the eccentric Lady Merton and dating a detective novelist. But her self-absorbed and irresponsible brother Henry remains a central focus. In the years after running away from school to join the circus, Henry marries, divorces, keeps a mistress, gambles, and flirts with Lady Merton. Now he plans to marry a doctor and turn the family home into a maternity hospital. What could go wrong?
Anne observes it all in unique style—daft, brilliant, and dark by turn, but always hilarious. Henry is Elizabeth Eliot’s acclaimed second novel. Her debut, Alice, and two subsequent novels, Mrs. Martell and Cecil, have also been reprinted by Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press. They feature a new introduction by Elizabeth Crawford.
“This novel has a tart and unique flavour of its own, and the author displays her most amusing and delightful stylistic trick, which is to have the last word” Daily Telegraph
“Delightful light-heartedness, malicious wit and humanity lurking beneath the surface” Times Literary Supplement