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The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the da The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flash past in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘a shaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up the clump of white asters by the apple tree.’ This was what the First World War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he was fighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did). He had had the idea for his novel at Bognor Regis: watching the crowds go by, and wondering what their lives were like at home, he ‘began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea...I wanted to write about simple, uncomplicated people doing normal things.’


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The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the da The Fortnight in September embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-out longed for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the train journey via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeks living in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’s only regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, because it is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flash past in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘a shaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up the clump of white asters by the apple tree.’ This was what the First World War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he was fighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did). He had had the idea for his novel at Bognor Regis: watching the crowds go by, and wondering what their lives were like at home, he ‘began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea...I wanted to write about simple, uncomplicated people doing normal things.’

30 review for The Fortnight in September

  1. 4 out of 5

    Umut Rados

    This was literally a slice of life of a family going on holidays to seaside. It was so cute & well written. Almost nothing happens in terms of plot. But, I felt I was invited to the ordinary life of a family, and it was very relaxing. If you're a person who likes heavy plot driven books, maybe this isn't for you. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it for what it is. This was literally a slice of life of a family going on holidays to seaside. It was so cute & well written. Almost nothing happens in terms of plot. But, I felt I was invited to the ordinary life of a family, and it was very relaxing. If you're a person who likes heavy plot driven books, maybe this isn't for you. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it for what it is.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    The Fortnight In September. The two weeks when the Stevens family left their South London home for their annual holiday, by the sea in Bognor. It sounds simple, and yes it is, but it is also lovely. One summer, between the wars, R C Sherriff visited Bognor. As he sat on the seafront, watching streams of visitors pass by, he realised what he wanted to write. “I began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea. It cou The Fortnight In September. The two weeks when the Stevens family left their South London home for their annual holiday, by the sea in Bognor. It sounds simple, and yes it is, but it is also lovely. One summer, between the wars, R C Sherriff visited Bognor. As he sat on the seafront, watching streams of visitors pass by, he realised what he wanted to write. “I began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea. It couldn’t be a play. It wasn’t the sort of story for the theatre, and in any case plays were done with. It would have to be a novel …” And so a novel it was. A very successful novel. And so I was able to watch two weeks in the lives of the Stevens family. Mr and Mrs Stevens and their three children: Mary, who was twenty and at work for a seamstress; Dick, aged seventeen, who had just left school and found a job in a local business; and Ernie, who at ten years old was still young to believe that anything was possible. Preparations are, of course an important part of any holiday. Lists must be made. Packing must be well organised. Arrangements with the neighbour, for minding the family pets and keeping an eye on the pets, must be finalised. Everything must be ready for departure day. I was reminded of holiday planning when I was a child, and I still have lists that I made and journals that my mother encouraged me to keep tucked away. Mr Stevens was in his element, organising things exactly as he had for the past twenty years. He had the journey organised too. There was luggage to be sent on. Connections to organise. A compartment to secure. And familiar sights – including their own street – to watched out for. I thought we were never going to reach our destination, but of course we got there in the end. Bognor! The guest house was a little shabby, but it was as familiar as home. The Stevens had stayed with the Huggetts every year when the came to Bognor, but this year things would be a little different. Mr Huggett had died and Mrs Huggett was having to manage things on her own. So, even though they noticed that things were a little shabbier than usual, the family would not dream of saying a word. They settled into their holiday routine. Mr Stevens secured a beach hut, and they would bathe, play ball on the sand, watch the world go by. They would visit familiar attractions too. And journey out into the surrounding countryside. There was time and space to think too. Mr Stevens worried about his position in the world. Dick wondered where he was going in life, what possibilities were open to him. Mary fell in love. And Mrs Stevens broke with convention to sit down with he landlady, to offer a sympathetic ear when she spoke of her concerns about the future. Lives were changing, and the world was changing. And so, while the Stevens assured themselves they would be back again next year, that things would be just as they had always be, a question hung in the air. Would they? Every detail, every emotion, that makes up a holiday is here, perfectly realised. The time and the place came to life. And a family so very well drawn, whose the story catches so much that is important in life: home, family, friendship, love, the passing of the years, disappointment, acceptance … with wonderful subtlety and honesty. My fortnight with the Stevens ended when they set out on their homeward journey. I wondered for a while what their future held, but they quickly faded. Back into the anonymous crowd where the author had found them. Their world was so completely realised that I could only watch, I couldn’t step inside But I have to say that R C Sherriff did exactly what he set out to do, and he did Bognor and the Stevens family proud.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beth Bonini

    This seemingly simple book has a quiet sort of genius to it. On the surface, it is a painstakingly (and somewhat painfully) detailed account of a family’s annual fortnight holiday at the ‘Seaview’ boarding house in Bognor Regis (a seaside resort in West Sussex). But for all of its lower-middle class, 1930s British specificity, it does have these illuminating universal moments that give the story a poignant depth. And like the season, with summer edging inexorably into autumn, the book is also ab This seemingly simple book has a quiet sort of genius to it. On the surface, it is a painstakingly (and somewhat painfully) detailed account of a family’s annual fortnight holiday at the ‘Seaview’ boarding house in Bognor Regis (a seaside resort in West Sussex). But for all of its lower-middle class, 1930s British specificity, it does have these illuminating universal moments that give the story a poignant depth. And like the season, with summer edging inexorably into autumn, the book is also about the passage of time in a family’s life. The older two children, Dick and Mary, have both left school for the world of work, and the days of family routines and rituals are certainly numbered. Likewise, their long loyalty to Seaview is being sorely tested; sadly, the old boarding house can no longer keep up standards and it, too, has reached a critical moment of decline. The author has a clever way of probing into the minds of the Stevens family: mother and father, sister and two brothers. The reader is given some access to each character’s point-of-view, and the mood shifts and glimpses into the family’s past provide emotional layering for the otherwise prosaic storyline. This is no glamorous upstairs/downstairs world, but rather the claustrophobic and careful lowest rung on the middle class ladder. The characters’ fears, joys and small triumphs will not be to every reader’s taste, but by the end of the book, I felt much sympathy for the Stevens family and their long-vanished way of life. ”A holiday is like that. The first days linger almost endlessly. . . . But gradually, relentlessly - time gathers speed. At night you sleep so soundly that you scarcely notice the darkness that flicks across to reveal the picture of another day. The hours go racing by - impossible to check - “

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I really loved this book, and when I first started it I wasn't sure that I would, despite rave reviews from some of my friends. It is a seemingly very simple book, about one family taking their annual seaside holiday, and I was afraid that its very simplicity would make it dull. But the story grows and grows on you as you read, and somehow Sherriff manages to devote enough time to each character so that you begin to care about them very much, and wonder what will happen to them on the next day o I really loved this book, and when I first started it I wasn't sure that I would, despite rave reviews from some of my friends. It is a seemingly very simple book, about one family taking their annual seaside holiday, and I was afraid that its very simplicity would make it dull. But the story grows and grows on you as you read, and somehow Sherriff manages to devote enough time to each character so that you begin to care about them very much, and wonder what will happen to them on the next day of their holiday. And things do happen to them, in the way that things really do happen to people on holiday most of the time--not huge startling changes, but small events and experiences that still leave their mark. Sherriff also manages to convey the feeling of being on holiday so well--the start of it, with everything still to come, the way the days go by faster and faster, until the end is upon you before you know it. He writes in the introduction that he didn't know what would happen to the characters next when he stopped writing for the day, just as they wouldn't know exactly what would happen on the next day of their holiday, and this comes through very clearly in the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    Utterly charming. This is a quiet, rather wistful story of the Stevens family's annual holiday in Bognor. Not a lot really happens, the first third of the book is spent getting ready, making lists and travelling. Finally they get to the seaside and what a joy it is, (for most of them, anyway). Dick and Mary, two of the three children, are now grown up and working, so there is an underlying realisation that this may be the last holiday they all spend together adding a touch of poignancy to the ho Utterly charming. This is a quiet, rather wistful story of the Stevens family's annual holiday in Bognor. Not a lot really happens, the first third of the book is spent getting ready, making lists and travelling. Finally they get to the seaside and what a joy it is, (for most of them, anyway). Dick and Mary, two of the three children, are now grown up and working, so there is an underlying realisation that this may be the last holiday they all spend together adding a touch of poignancy to the holiday. It is a very compelling novel that just seemed to flow easily. Before I knew it, it was 1am and I'd read half of it. I finished the next day.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    The foreword to this book is an excerpt from R.C. Sherriff's autobiography, wherein he discusses how he wrote The Fortnight in September. He had had a marvelous success as a playwright with Journey's End: Play, but then he had an idea which he could only turn into a novel: the simple story of a family on their annual seaside holiday. Sherriff groped for the right style, finding that "flowery stuff and highfalutin words" weren't right and seeking a more down-to-earth style which would match his c The foreword to this book is an excerpt from R.C. Sherriff's autobiography, wherein he discusses how he wrote The Fortnight in September. He had had a marvelous success as a playwright with Journey's End: Play, but then he had an idea which he could only turn into a novel: the simple story of a family on their annual seaside holiday. Sherriff groped for the right style, finding that "flowery stuff and highfalutin words" weren't right and seeking a more down-to-earth style which would match his characters. He found that he had to learn to know the Stevens family before he could write about them without looking down or up to them, instead to "walk with them easily, side by side." And the wonderful thing about the book is that he does exactly that. The story is full of seemingly inconsequential details -- the family doesn't even get on the train to the seaside for about sixty pages -- but because Sherriff describes everything so precisely and simply, everything is absorbing. It would be terribly easy for him to have devolved into syrupy sentimentality, but he just doesn't. I think the only thing which falters a little is that he's better with his male characters than his female characters, but the characterization is generally so good that I didn't mind. This is really a lovely little peaceful book and would probably be an excellent vacation read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Well, it took nearly a fortnight in August for me to read this book! If you like action or lots of dialogue, this book isn't for you. In a nutshell, it's the story of a family getting ready for their fortnight (100 pages before they even get there) to Bognor, a town they visit every fall. They stay at the same boarding house/b&b and everything is familiar. While it was in dull in spots, the quietness really captured me, it had a feeling of fall. Mr. Stevens looks forward to seeing the same famil Well, it took nearly a fortnight in August for me to read this book! If you like action or lots of dialogue, this book isn't for you. In a nutshell, it's the story of a family getting ready for their fortnight (100 pages before they even get there) to Bognor, a town they visit every fall. They stay at the same boarding house/b&b and everything is familiar. While it was in dull in spots, the quietness really captured me, it had a feeling of fall. Mr. Stevens looks forward to seeing the same familiar faces, plus Rosie the barmaid, at the pub, while Mrs. Stevens's favorite time is between 9-10, when she sits by herself with her glass of port and the rest of the family is away. Sherriff ably captures that feeling of going away from home for a while, the anxiety (or is that me) of the return, and the familiarness of returning year after year to the same spot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Very little happens in this novel, but it was still one of the most charming, thoughtful books I’ve read in years. It’s a simple account of a middle-class family’s annual visit to the seaside: the shucking off of day-to-day worries along with city clothes, visits to the band pavilion and amusement arcade, long days baking under an autumn sun or reading in the cool shade of a rented bathing hut, the teenaged son’s solitary musings about his future and his slightly older sister’s first tentative s Very little happens in this novel, but it was still one of the most charming, thoughtful books I’ve read in years. It’s a simple account of a middle-class family’s annual visit to the seaside: the shucking off of day-to-day worries along with city clothes, visits to the band pavilion and amusement arcade, long days baking under an autumn sun or reading in the cool shade of a rented bathing hut, the teenaged son’s solitary musings about his future and his slightly older sister’s first tentative summer romance. The Stevenses’ existence is anything but perfect, but in two weeks all five family members find their own ways to extract a year’s worth of the sweetness of life. R.C. Sherriff was a wonderful hand at giving the essence of people and places in just a few words. (I particularly enjoyed his description of a bored, wealthy woman who resents having the Stevenses as visitors in her home: “She looked as if she had been boiled in too much water, then artificially flavored.”) Over 300 pages, he lovingly brings every member of the family to life: Mr. Stevens, a timid clerk but devoted husband and father who becomes a new man at the sight of the sea; his drudge of a wife who dreams for fifty weeks a year of having a small glass of port and an hour to herself every evening; the two joyous but uncertain older children; and ten-year-old Ernie, who is still free enough of cynicism to wonder how a ticket-seller gets into his narrow booth or dream of a career collecting pennies from vending machines. It’s all wonderful stuff, and I half-wished the author had followed the family’s journey home over another hundred pages. My inter-library loan copy had literally been read to pieces: the spine was missing, both covers detached and the loose pages held together by rubber bands. That says something about The Fortnight in September’s quality and its author’s deserved place alongside Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and other examiners of ordinary life in the years between the wars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liina Bachmann

    White canvas shoes, finding sand between the pages of a book, skin tender from the sun, the salty smell of the sea, evening strolls and endless naps, badminton and raspberries, reading until my eyes hurt, way past bedtime. This is summer for me and has always been. . "The Fortnight in September" by R.C Sheriff captures all that. It is in its essence a simple book - a English middle class family on their traditional two week vacation by the sea. Nothing happens, there is no "plot". But anyone who h White canvas shoes, finding sand between the pages of a book, skin tender from the sun, the salty smell of the sea, evening strolls and endless naps, badminton and raspberries, reading until my eyes hurt, way past bedtime. This is summer for me and has always been. . "The Fortnight in September" by R.C Sheriff captures all that. It is in its essence a simple book - a English middle class family on their traditional two week vacation by the sea. Nothing happens, there is no "plot". But anyone who has ever had a job and therefore knows the bittersweet feeling of summer vacay will be moved by this book. And anyone who ever had summer vacations as a child. It is very detail oriented and it gives you the feeling like you are living the two sun-drenched weeks there, together with the Stevens family. And how on earth did Sherriff know that there is always the lone sock under the bed that you nearly forget behind when going back to the city? . The best summer book I have read as an adult, I think.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    This is a delightful novel first published in 1931 - about the Stevens annual fortnights holiday in Bognor. Mr Stevens is a middle aged clerk - his wife a quiet gentle woman who secretly finds this holiday a bit of a strain. Their children, Dick and Mary who are now grown up, and out to work themselves, and Ernie their youngest still a school boy. This is a novel about ordinary people who live small lives, and the things which loom large and have unimaginable importance within that life - such a This is a delightful novel first published in 1931 - about the Stevens annual fortnights holiday in Bognor. Mr Stevens is a middle aged clerk - his wife a quiet gentle woman who secretly finds this holiday a bit of a strain. Their children, Dick and Mary who are now grown up, and out to work themselves, and Ernie their youngest still a school boy. This is a novel about ordinary people who live small lives, and the things which loom large and have unimaginable importance within that life - such as Mrs Stevens medicinal bottle of port she buys each year on the holiday, and the wearing of comfortable holiday clothes and canvas shoes. This is a charming novel, quite melancholic in some ways - although never sad.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruthiella

    There is something very gentle and soothing about this book which simply recounts a two week family vacation at a costal resort town in 1930’s England with touching detail of their hopes, fears, small rituals and quiet comforts. The Stevens family has been visiting Bognor, staying at the same bed and breakfast, for 20 years. Now that the children are nearly grown, this last visit is tinged with a slight melancholy and wistfulness.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    A wonderful read. The excitement of a seaside family holiday. Preparation, social etiquette and teenagers wanting to stretch their wings. Mr and Mrs Stevens have a very British preoccupation of wondering what others think of them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Lovely story of a lower middle class family between the wars, taking their annual holiday at the seaside boarding house they go to every year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Primrose Jess

    I very much enjoyed this one and was happy to read in the back of the book that Persephone has printed another by this author. I loved the whimsy, the melancholy, the joy, the worry about things going wrong, ignoring decline in a well loved vacation setting because of the rosy memories you've had of it, and I loved the story of this proper family on holiday. So much was captured in this little gem that is both relatable but also foreign to us in a more modern age. Which is just another reason wh I very much enjoyed this one and was happy to read in the back of the book that Persephone has printed another by this author. I loved the whimsy, the melancholy, the joy, the worry about things going wrong, ignoring decline in a well loved vacation setting because of the rosy memories you've had of it, and I loved the story of this proper family on holiday. So much was captured in this little gem that is both relatable but also foreign to us in a more modern age. Which is just another reason why I loved it so.

  15. 5 out of 5

    NancyKay

    Really delightful novel from 1931 of a lower middle class English family's two week seaside vacation, which contains pretty much every element of human life. Really delightful novel from 1931 of a lower middle class English family's two week seaside vacation, which contains pretty much every element of human life.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Claire Fuller

    Such an odd and wonderful book. Nothing really happens - In 1930 Mr and Mrs Stevens go on holiday to Bognor on the south coast of England with their three children to the same boarding house that they've been going to for seventeen years. They (mostly) have a lovely time and then they go home. It's the detail that makes it fascinating, and the observations of the feelings of the family: the huge disappointment when they realise they can't get the beach hut they want on the day they arrive, and t Such an odd and wonderful book. Nothing really happens - In 1930 Mr and Mrs Stevens go on holiday to Bognor on the south coast of England with their three children to the same boarding house that they've been going to for seventeen years. They (mostly) have a lovely time and then they go home. It's the detail that makes it fascinating, and the observations of the feelings of the family: the huge disappointment when they realise they can't get the beach hut they want on the day they arrive, and the joy when they find out it's available the following Tuesday. Even though it's a very quiet book, in its quiet way the tension is huge: what will happen when Mr Stevens goes to the pub on his own, what will happen when Mary sneaks away to meet an actor after dark, will Dick change his career and be happy, will the whole family come back to the down-at-heel boarding house and lumpy beds next year? I could easy have given this book five stars: the languid style of writing and the observations are so wonderful: "[Mr Montgomery's] eyes, nose and mouth were crowded very close and rather meanly together considering the large amount of unused face that lay around them, and as they followed him into the house, Ernie saw that there was ample room for another face on the back of his neck." But...perhaps this is only because it is a book of its time (published in 1931), and written by a man, but I found how R.C.Sherriff handled the interior life of his wife very poor. The book is mostly from Mr Stevens' point of view, while we are let into the heads of the other characters now and again, but all Mrs Stevens is allowed to think about is how her husband's resignation as secretary of the football club was accepted, whether the buns she's bought for the family are too stale, how scary it is changing trains at Clapham Junction, and so on. Towards the end there's a tiny glimpse about how she is happy to have an hour on her own in the evenings without anyone, but I really think there would have been more going on inside Mrs Stevens' head than buns and trains. But, that issue aside, I still loved this book. www.clairefuller.co.uk

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    What a beautiful, beautiful book. Reminded me of the styles of Dorothy Whipple, Barbara Pym and Dottie Smith. It is a book that "simply" describes one middle class, English family on their annual holiday to the sea. What Sherriff does with this setting is a masterpiece. Each member of the family comes alive for the reader and many of the people they encounter. He expertly captures this family's love for one another and their ever-changing dynamics. If you love novels that are beautifully written What a beautiful, beautiful book. Reminded me of the styles of Dorothy Whipple, Barbara Pym and Dottie Smith. It is a book that "simply" describes one middle class, English family on their annual holiday to the sea. What Sherriff does with this setting is a masterpiece. Each member of the family comes alive for the reader and many of the people they encounter. He expertly captures this family's love for one another and their ever-changing dynamics. If you love novels that are beautifully written and describe ordinary people and their inner lives, this is for you. Strongly recommend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Exquisitely written, this 1931 novel is a deep contemplation of life, with all its disappointments. The long discriptions miss nothing out: a fortnight's holiday at the seaside, in all its minutiae. The characters are delightful, but lead very mediocre lives. I really wanted to love this book, but found that I was needing something more exciting, more substantial to bite into. Exquisitely written, this 1931 novel is a deep contemplation of life, with all its disappointments. The long discriptions miss nothing out: a fortnight's holiday at the seaside, in all its minutiae. The characters are delightful, but lead very mediocre lives. I really wanted to love this book, but found that I was needing something more exciting, more substantial to bite into.

  19. 5 out of 5

    antiquarian reverie

    When I decided to read R. C. Sherriff's The Fortnight in September, I did not think it was actually September but after starting it dawned on me, and what a pleasant way to pass those hot days. What I like best about this was the family togetherness and caring about each other, especially the children to their parents. It had a wholesome feel of times past, where the children respected their elders. I felt like I was joining in on the Stevens family's vacation, and could understand the different When I decided to read R. C. Sherriff's The Fortnight in September, I did not think it was actually September but after starting it dawned on me, and what a pleasant way to pass those hot days. What I like best about this was the family togetherness and caring about each other, especially the children to their parents. It had a wholesome feel of times past, where the children respected their elders. I felt like I was joining in on the Stevens family's vacation, and could understand the different feelings they had. The family- Mr. Stevens- Growing older he looks at this vacation as bringing himself out of his business self. Mrs. Stevens- She is not a fan of vacations but puts on a smile. Dick Stevens- Is disappointed with his job and needs to think about his future. Mary Stevens- Knows this vacation will be different. Ernie Stevens- Sees all things with a kid's like amazement and full of questions which brings much humor. From the author's 1968 autobiography, which he talks about how he got the idea about this story. "One day an idea for a novel came out of the blue. It happened on a seaside holiday at Bognor, when we used to go down and sit on the front and watch the crowds go by." "as they passed your seat, you saw them vividly as individuals, and now and then there would be one who struck a spark of interest that smouldered in your memory after they had gone. I began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random and build up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea." "The attraction of the story was that I didn’t lay out any plan and never knew what was going to happen in the next chapter until I came to it. It kept me in sympathy with the characters, because when they went to bed each night they knew no more about what was going to happen next day than I did when I turned out the light on my desk and went to bed myself." "My vocabulary hadn’t been up to it. I’d floundered about, hunting up unfamiliar words that I’d never written down before, getting baffled and entangled and frustrated. But I shouldn’t be writing now with an eye to publication. Even if it got finished I’d never offer it to a publisher and risk another fiasco. I wanted to write for the sake of writing, and got started one evening in my hotel bedroom." ❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌spoiler alert❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌❌ I was hoping that Mary's romance would continue past Bognor but the bringing of reality brings this to a fleeting moment. I loved how Mary and Dick were good kids that thought about their parents. I like to think that Dick becomes an architect; Mary finds love; that the family share their vacation together next year.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book is sublime...it's one of the first Persephone editions I read and I was not disappointed. I'm a fanatic beach-goer myself and love the ritual of going as much as the actual vacation, so this novel was especially dear to me. I loved the relationship among the relatives, how everybody was kind and thoughtful to each other, but at the same time lost in their own worlds (including a clandestine romance of sorts for the daughter). In addition to being a sensual delight (loved feeling the su This book is sublime...it's one of the first Persephone editions I read and I was not disappointed. I'm a fanatic beach-goer myself and love the ritual of going as much as the actual vacation, so this novel was especially dear to me. I loved the relationship among the relatives, how everybody was kind and thoughtful to each other, but at the same time lost in their own worlds (including a clandestine romance of sorts for the daughter). In addition to being a sensual delight (loved feeling the sun on my shoulders, the wind in my hair, the salt on my lips as I read), this is also a beautiful description of how simple pleasures mean so much. I love this book...it has a special place in my heart.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    Gentle, poignant and sweet.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Everett

    Came across this by accident when I heard it mentioned on the radio. Took me ages to track it down when Amazon declared they hadn't got it: but they had. On Kindle. And a secondhand one published 1951 (it was first published 1931). It's a miracle of a book: simple story of an ordinary family going on a fortnight's holiday to Bognor in September - as they've done for 20 years. Not much happens. No conflict, no romance, no real tension. Not even much of a story, to be honest. Yet it made me think Came across this by accident when I heard it mentioned on the radio. Took me ages to track it down when Amazon declared they hadn't got it: but they had. On Kindle. And a secondhand one published 1951 (it was first published 1931). It's a miracle of a book: simple story of an ordinary family going on a fortnight's holiday to Bognor in September - as they've done for 20 years. Not much happens. No conflict, no romance, no real tension. Not even much of a story, to be honest. Yet it made me think of that scene in Alan Bennett's History Boys when Hector tells Posner: "The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours." It's full of such moments. It's a story of a long-vanished world, which manages to feel familiar and comfortable, even though we may never have experienced it (if we're under 90). But it's also the story of lost dreams and hopeless ambition, sadness and loss and family life with all its flaws and frustrations. It's just lovely. Get a copy if you possibly can. Oh - and not to be confused with 'A' Fortnight in September, which is a very different kettle of fish.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Henry James once said of Trollope that "His great, his inestimable merit was a complete appreciation of the usual." I was reminded of that quote while reading this marvelous work. Mr. Sherriff was able to show beauty in the anticipation, execution and end of a family vacation. He conveyed so much with so few words and in so doing showed his mastery of the written word. Like Trollope, his generous heart shows through his portrayal of each character, sketched with real appreciation of his or her i Henry James once said of Trollope that "His great, his inestimable merit was a complete appreciation of the usual." I was reminded of that quote while reading this marvelous work. Mr. Sherriff was able to show beauty in the anticipation, execution and end of a family vacation. He conveyed so much with so few words and in so doing showed his mastery of the written word. Like Trollope, his generous heart shows through his portrayal of each character, sketched with real appreciation of his or her interior life. This is the sort of book one could read every few years and experience delight anew.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    A very sweet, thoughtful novel about an ordinary lower middle class family on their annual holiday to a shabby boarding house in Bognor. It is a slow moving story where every detail of the preparations, journey and holiday is described. I love a detailed domestic novel from this period, but I couldn't help wondering where the wider world fitted into their lives, given that this was published just a decade or so after the 1st World War and during a major recession...but I suppose that would be a A very sweet, thoughtful novel about an ordinary lower middle class family on their annual holiday to a shabby boarding house in Bognor. It is a slow moving story where every detail of the preparations, journey and holiday is described. I love a detailed domestic novel from this period, but I couldn't help wondering where the wider world fitted into their lives, given that this was published just a decade or so after the 1st World War and during a major recession...but I suppose that would be a different novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I loved this! A simple tale of a family's annual holiday in Bognor in the 1930s, from their last night at home packing to the last day of the holiday. It's an easy, yet compulsive read. This is a story of a lost world... England before the Second World War and an age of innocence. Nostalgic and wholesome. Throughout the novel, we get a sense that things have changed and that the Stevens family may not be visiting Bognor the following year. The two eldest children are now working and planning a d I loved this! A simple tale of a family's annual holiday in Bognor in the 1930s, from their last night at home packing to the last day of the holiday. It's an easy, yet compulsive read. This is a story of a lost world... England before the Second World War and an age of innocence. Nostalgic and wholesome. Throughout the novel, we get a sense that things have changed and that the Stevens family may not be visiting Bognor the following year. The two eldest children are now working and planning a different kind of life and their seaside landlady may well not be able to cope with running 'Seaview' for much longer. R C Sheriff does setting and character so very well! It's interesting that he wrote the novel while staying in Bognor and observing the families holidaying there. He wrote it for enjoyment, rather than an eye on the market. He thought his publisher would reject the novel on sight, yet Gollanz loved it and it went on to be a bestseller. For all you writers out there... write what you love and what you want to write. Forget the market!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carol Barry

    absolutely beautiful account of the "good old days" .A classic that was written after the war years of the simple pleasures of a family holiday.taken in the same shabby boarding house every year. The author wrote this with out worrying what the reader thought.(IT WAS AN INSTANT BEST SELLER) .It was his own homage to normality.The likes and times of which we will never see again. absolutely beautiful account of the "good old days" .A classic that was written after the war years of the simple pleasures of a family holiday.taken in the same shabby boarding house every year. The author wrote this with out worrying what the reader thought.(IT WAS AN INSTANT BEST SELLER) .It was his own homage to normality.The likes and times of which we will never see again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lljones

    Gentle, tender, beautiful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    A small masterpiece

  29. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    How can a book detailing a family’s annual holiday in Bognor be so readable? I’ve no idea, but I loved it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Paddon

    Brilliant! So evocative of childhood seaside holidays, and wonderfully written almost in real time. The ordinariness of a family, going on an ordinary holiday, raises this book to the extraordinary. Highly recommended.

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