Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Short Story Wednesday-"The Visitor" Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen is a wonderful writer. Her novel A DEATH OF THE HEART is a masterpiece to me. She wrote many great stories as well as novels. 

"The Visitor" is the story of a nine-year old boy, who is staying with two spinster neighbors, waiting for his mother to die. Bowen describes the house he is staying in and everything about it in exquisite detail and you feel, like the boy, that these details are putting off the inevitable news that his mother is dead. He watches his father striding through the fields half-mad with grief; he remembers the wonderful hours just a year before that his mother and he had spent time together in this very place; he helps his hosts sort apples; he ruminates on his school life. And waits. Every detail seems to be preparing the ground for THE NEWS. This is a subtle story. The sense of dread though permeates every word. How wonderful to write like Bowen.



Short story collections

  • Encounters (1923)
  • Ann Lee's and Other Stories (1926)
  • Joining Charles and Other Stories (1929)
  • The Cat Jumps and Other Stories (1934)
  • Look at All Those Roses (1941)
  • The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945)
  • Ivy Gripped the Steps and Other Stories (1946, USA)
  • Stories by Elizabeth Bowen (1959)
  • A Day in the Dark and Other Stories (1965)
  • The Good Tiger (1965, children's book) - illustrated by M. Nebel (1965 edition) and Quentin Blake (1970 edition)
  • Elizabeth Bowen’s Irish Stories (1978)
  • The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen (1980)
  • The Bazaar and Other Stories (2008) - edited by Allan Hepburn


  • Bowen's Court (1942, 1964)
  • Seven Winters: Memories of a Dublin Childhood (1942)
  • English Novelists (1942)
  • Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement (1946)
  • Why Do I Write?: An Exchange of Views between Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene and V.S. Pritchett (1948)
  • Collected Impressions (1950)
  • The Shelbourne (1951)
  • A Time in Rome (1960)
  • Afterthought: Pieces About Writing (1962)
  • Pictures and Conversations (1975), edited by Spencer Curtis Brown
  • The Mulberry Tree: Writings of Elizabeth Bowen (1999), edited by Hermione Lee
  • "Notes on Éire": Espionage Reports to Winston Churchill by Elizabeth Bowen, 1940–1942 (2008), edited by Jack Lane and Brendan Clifford
  • People, Places, Things: Essays by Elizabeth Bowen (2008) - edited by Allan Hepburn
  • Love's Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie: Letters and Diaries, 1941–1973 (2009), edited by Victoria Glendinning and Judith Robertson
  • Listening In: Broadcasts, Speeches, and Interviews by Elizabeth Bowen (2010), edited by Allan Hepburn
  • Elizabeth Bowen's Selected Irish Writings (2011), edited by Éibhear Walshe
  • The Weight of a World of Feeling: Reviews and Essays by Elizabeth Bowen (2016), edited by Allan Hepburn

Kevin Tipple 


Jerry House 

George Kelley 

Richard Robinson 

Todd Mason 


Margot Kinberg said...

I'm ashamed to say I'm not familiar with her work, Patti. Thanks for introducing her, so I can remedy that.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Bowen is yet another of those women I have had on radar that I have never read. I once had her Collected Stories from the library but returned it unread because I had so many other books at the time.

I read 101 stories in January, finished three anthologies and four single author collections. Currently started a book of Fritz Leiber horror and fantasy stories, plus that Richard Bausch collection you mentioned last time. I also have a Patrick Quentin collection on the Kindle I bought for 99 cents.

George said...

I just posted a review of Harold Bloom's THE BRIGHT BOOK OF LIFE, a collection of essays on Bloom's favorite novels. Bloom included The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen. Between Bloom and you, I need to read some Elizabeth Bowen soon!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Death of the Heart is terrific.
Jeff-you are a reading machine.

Powell River Books said...

I downloaded this book to read but haven't gotten to it yet. What attracted me was a traveling library. It makes me think of my grandmother. She took a basket of books from the small local library in Compton, California, and went to the nearby school to read to children and leave books for their class library. I still have her wicker basket as a family heirloom. - Margy

pattinase (abbott) said...

Margy-I have a friend who did this until Covid. She was a former kindergarten teacher and couldn't give it up.

Jerry House said...

I have Bowen's COLLECTED STORIES but have only dipped into it occassionally. Maybe this year.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have only dipped too. Too heavy for one thing.

Todd Mason said...

Bowen is another I've always enjoyed when I've read her work in horror anthologies, and haven't made the effort to seek out one of her collections so far. Onto the vast list!

Rick Robinson said...

Patti, I put one up an hour or so ago.


Rick Robinson said...

Bowen sounds fabulous, but where to start? Short story collection? Which one?

Todd Mason said...

Patti, I jumped in, too, piggybacking on George's citation of the Other book in the same series as his selection...

Rick, I'd suggest her late, slim collection of what I take to be her favorite more ghostly/outré stories, A DAY IN THE DARK AND OTHER STORIES.

TracyK said...

This author is new to me in the sense that I haven't read anything by her and have no familiarity with what she has written. I am familiar with the name but that is all. One article I read said she wrote a good bit about life in wartime London so I will look into some of her novels, in addition to short stories.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I would start with DEATH OF THE HEART. You can probably find some of her short stories online.