You’ll Enjoy It When You Get There: The Selected Stories of Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor. New York Review Books, $16.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-59017-727-3
This captivating collection of 29 stories by Taylor—a British novelist who wrote 11 novels (including At Mrs. Lippincote’s) and four story collections—includes an introduction by Margaret Drabble, who edited the book. Most of the stories revolve around female protagonists in unremarkable English settings. The title story is about a young girl named Rhoda, who attends a ball with her father. Her glamorous mother is sick and unable to attend, but she advises awkward Rhoda not to be shy. Their dynamic is emblematic of the tension between expectation and reality that affects many of Taylor’s characters. In “The Letter Writers,” spinster Emily finally meets a famous novelist she’s admired from afar through a decade of epistolary friendship. Unfortunately, the meeting is awkward and strained, leaving Emily feeling ashamed. In “The Prerogative of Love,” young, beautiful Arabella floats through her aunt’s lunch party, filling the elder guests with a longing for their youth and levity. In “Flesh,” a middle-aged pair on vacation strike up a brief adulterous romance, but are ultimately foiled. Taylor’s vulnerable characters are simultaneously touching and heartbreaking. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014
Release date: 09/23/2014
Genre: Fiction
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