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In 1914 they had been eleven years old - Dicey, Mumbo and Sheikie. Nearly fifty years have gone by since they met at St Agatha's, a day school on the South Coast. One of them, Dicey, a beauty to whom time has so far done little, deliberately convenes the other two - Clare, a successful career woman, and Sheila, a glossy matron, cool and correct. Can friendship be taken up where it left off? For there is peril in summoning up the violence and mystification's of childhood. Forces which has been latent in all three are brought uncomfortably near to the surface by this reunion. With its wit and its characteristically brilliant texture, the novel is ingeniously constructed. There is little explanation in THE LITTLE GIRLS, but they are many clues. Even inanimate objects can be important, and random sayings or seemingly trivial events may acquire, retrospectively, a strange significance.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099287780
ISBN-10: 0099287781
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 27-May-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » ??It is many years, close to thirty, since Elizabeth Bowen wrote her best remembered books, The House in Paris and The Death of the Heart, both of which were rather Jamesian in the worlds within worlds they explored. This new book may call to mind The Beast in the Jungle, in its expectant vigil and the devastating revelation at its conclusion- "There, being nothing was what you were frightened of all the time". On its own, it is a discreetly tantalizing story, a parabola of time present and past when three women return some fifty years later to a childhood scene. The instigator now, as she was then, is Dinah Delacroix, artlessly attractive, somewhat offhand, even a little fey. The museum she is establishing in a cave as a "clue for posterity" has its past in Dinah's. At eleven, she had had a penchant for burying things, and with two friends, Clare and Sheila, had interred some secret belongings in a coffer. Impulsively contacting Clare and Sheila whom she has not seen since, the reunion, uneasy at best, stirs many memories and latent resentments, and the revenants make their anticipatory-apprehensive return to the chest which lies buried in a school garden.... A disconcerting, elliptical book of considerable charm. It has a special, subtle sortilege. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and land-owner. She travelled a great deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, the family house in County Cork which she inherited. Her first book, a collection of shorts stories, Encounters, was published in 1923. The Hotel (1926) was her first novel. She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.

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