Interesting Place

  1. Skios
    by Michael Frayn

    Hilarious farce of mistaken identities, embarrassing situations, amazing coincidences and mislaid clothing, building to a frenetic denouement set on a Greek island. Opening paragraphs:  I just want to say a I thank-you to our distinguished guest,” said Nikki Hook, “for making this evening such a fascinating and wonderful occasion, and one that I’m sure none of us here will ever forget…” She stopped and read the sentence aloud again to herself, then deleted “fascinating and wonderful” and inserted “unique and

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  2. Cranford
    by Elizabeth Gaskell

    A delightful community of unmarried women in a provincial English village. Opening lines:  In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women . . . .  For keeping the trim gardens full of choice flowers without a weed to speck them; for frightening away little boys who look wistfully at the said flowers through the railings; for rushing out at the geese that occasionally venture into the

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  3. Crampton Hodnet
    by Barbara Pym

    Story of Miss Doggett and her companion Miss Morrow. Will Miss Morrow marry Mr. Latimer?  Will Francis Cleveland have an affair with Barbara Bird? Opening lines: It was a wet Sunday afternoon in North Oxford at the beginning of October.  The laurel bushes which bordered the path leading to Leamington Lodge, Banbury Road, were dripping with rain.  A few sodden chrysanthemums, dahlias and zinnias drooped in the flower-beds on the lawn.  The house had been built in the sixties of

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  4. The Barsetshire series
    by Angela Thirkell

    A 29-book series chronicling family and social life in the 1930’s through the 1960’s.  Try High Risings or Wild Strawberries first. Opening lines from Wild Strawberries:  The Vicar of St Mary’s, Rushwater, looked anxiously through the vestry window which commanded a view of the little gate in the churchyard wall.  Through this gate the Leslie family had come to church with varying degrees of unpunctuality ever since the vicar had been at Rushwater, nor did it seem probable that they

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  5. The Enchanted April
    by Elizabeth Von Arnim

    Four dissatisfied English women come alive in an Italian villa. Opening paragraphs:  It began in a Women’s Club in London on a February afternoon—an uncomfortable club, and a miserable afternoon—when Mrs. Wilkins, who had come down from Hampstead to shop and had lunched at her club, took up The Times from the table in the smoking room, and running her listless eye down the Agony Column saw this: To Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine.  Small mediaeval Italian castle on

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