What to read whilst you’re waiting for the Persephone Biannually…


Image from here

It’s that time of year. I’m excited about the two new Persephone books for Spring. I shall undoubtedly buy them both, but I’m especially pleased that they’re reprinting Helen Hull’s Heat Lightning (first published in the US in 1932). Hull is deservedly known for her wonderful novels revealing the undercurrents of American domestic and family life in the first half of twentieth century America. She captures her protagonists brilliantly at moments of insight or change and explores the essential strength women find to learn, manage and carry on, making the best of what is often a difficult lot and gaining a sense of achievement and even love and self-esteem in the process. Rachel has written brilliantly about two of her novels, Morning Shows the Day and Heat Lightning on Book Snob here and here.

I’ve had fun in the mean time reading a couple of Hull’s short stories one, from the treasure chest that is the Persephone Book of Short Stories, and written in 1941 and another available to read online. En Route, published on 18th February 1928 in Collier’s: The National Weekly is a super example, albeit on a necessarily smaller scale, of Hull’s gifts and is perfect to get you in the mood for the Persephone reprint. Driving rain is the motif here rather than scorching hot summer lightning. I especially like the taste of quirky small town 1920s America that Hull gives us and Monica’s memories of her childhood visit to Mrs Hardwick’s home. The story starts on pages 15 and 16 here and continues here (scroll down to page 42). Happy Reading!


“Chase Em in Tea Room” a 1920s lunch and tea room in Maine, presumably not dissimilar to the one Philip and Monica ride out the storm in – image from here

4 thoughts on “What to read whilst you’re waiting for the Persephone Biannually…

  1. Thank you for your lovely comments on my Helen Hull posts! 🙂 Thank you also for the link to that wonderful short story – what a hidden treasure! Can’t wait for the new biannually – though whether I’ll have time to read it is another matter!

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