Dear Life, by H.E. Bates

Dear Life by HE BatesThe other day, I was rereading one of my favourite short story compilations, My Uncle Silas, by H.E. Bates (Penguin Books, 1939), and noticed that he had, like Alice Munro, published a book under the title of Dear Life. Like Munro’s work, it was in the short story or novella format. It was published by Little, Brown and Company, London, UK, in 1949, a couple of years after the end of WWII. Bates had made his name with his ripping war novels and stories set in India and Burma, and the jolly tales of the Larkin family, especially the televised The Darling Buds of May. However, Bates’ Dear Life was an experiment and a departure from his usual bucolic, sentimental visions of a vanished past. As social criticism it was not well received and was generally panned by reviewers. Perhaps the very dark novella deserves reevaluation…(Continue reading…)

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