THE INNOCENT AND THE GUILTY by Sylvia Townsend Warner


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A slender (nine) collection of short stories which reasserts Miss Warner's long-established virtues -- the felicities of style with which she phrases all those gentle reassurances, roses and larks, hot lemon and port wine, that ultimately will be betrayed by victimization and malice, impotence or failure. None of the stories have quite the unsuspected thrust of ""The Love Match"" in Swans on an Autumn River (1966) and the closest to it here is ""But at the Stroke of Midnight,"" a sad and almost macabre story of dislocation. Then there's the insinuating perversity of ""Bruno,"" a ""hearthrug cat,"" in the life of a wealthy, rather stupid, retired man; or another elderly castaway's return to ""Oxenhope"" to find that he has permanently achieved his ""tenancy in legend."" ""Truth in the Cup,"" ""The Quality of Mercy,"" and ""Two Children"" are marginal but all of the stories are framed by ""The Perfect Setting"" in which some coarser intrusion or wanton reverse leaves a signature which cannot be so easily smudged.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1971
Publisher: Viking