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Winter in the Air

Sylvia Townsend Warner

This Christmas, bask in these ‘diminutive masterpieces’ (Guardian) by the English genius behind Lolly Willowes.

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This Christmas, ‘hand yourself over to be enchanted’ (Guardian) by the English genius behind witchcraft classic Lolly Willowes.

Decades after her divorce, a lady returns to the village of her tumultuous marriage. A railway carriage hosts a charged schoolboy encounter. A murder raises fears of blackmail. A woman waits anxiously in a café before eloping to Paris. Another steals a friend’s kitchen knife.

In these bittersweet tales, the author of Lolly Willowes reveals her mastery of the short story, celebrated by the New Yorker for decades. Sylvia Townsend Warner is a tragicomic chronicler of the heart’s entanglements, from marriages and affairs to widowhood; and a champion of outsiders, whether single women, the elderly or wartime refugees.

Witty and subversive, her stories meld tradition and transgression, with secret sins and fetishes as much a feature of English life as eccentric aunts, country houses and parish churches.

Critic Reviews

Worth £9.99 for the book jacket alone (trust Faber) ... It’s exquisite and shivery, just like the stories within ... By turns creepy, melancholy, horrifying, tragic and beltingly romantic, sometimes all at once.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

One of our finest writers.

Neil Gaiman
Critic Reviews

One of the most shamefully under-read great British authors of the past 100 years ... Intelligent, lyrical, beautifully crafted.

Sarah Waters
Critic Reviews

Diminutive masterpieces ... Hand yourself over to be enchanted.

Critic Reviews

Extraordinary, lucid wildness.

Helen MacDonald
Critic Reviews

Original, elegant and hypnotically strange.

New York Times
Sylvia TownsendWarner

Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893-1978) was a poet, novelist, journalist and musicologist. She grew up in Devonshire and was home-schooled for her rebellious behaviour. After World War II disrupted her musical studies, she moved to London to work in a munitions factory. With her partner Valentine Ackland, whom she lived with from 1930 until her death, Warner was active in the Communist…

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Sylvia TownsendWarner
Portrait of author Sylvia Townsend-Warner