Review 1893: The Sidmouth Letters

I have a relatively uneasy relationship with short stories. They often leave me unsatisfied. However, I found most of the stories in The Sidmouth Letters fascinating. And, of course, since they’re written by Jane Gardam, they’re elegant.

Some of the stories are very satisfying:

  • In “The Tribute,” some women are trying to arrange a tribute for a deceased nanny who, their conversations reveal, was never paid, never left a pension, and not helped when her niece asked for assistance. One of her old charges has a surprise for them.
  • In “The Sidmouth Letters,” a woman gets a chance for revenge against her old professor who stole one of her papers to publish after granting her a poor degree.

Others provide unusual insight into relationships:

  • In “Hetty Sleeping,” Hetty finally wakes up from her infatuation with an old lover.
  • In “Transit Passengers,” a young man who thought he was in love loses interest.
  • The narrator in “For He Heard the Loud Bassoon,” a witness to a wedding, is left in an awkward situation.
  • “A Spot of Gothic” is an unexpected ghost story.

The only story I didn’t like very much was “The Great, Grand Soapwater Kick,” about a homeless woman who decides to take a bath.

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2 thoughts on “Review 1893: The Sidmouth Letters

  1. thecontentreader July 23, 2022 / 10:34 am

    I don’t read very many short stories, but sometimes they are very good and satisfying. These sounds interesting.

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