Someone at a Distance

By Dorothy Whipple


(image sourced from Publisher’s Website)

I shan’t remain tight lipped any longer for it’s clear this book needs to be shared…along with a feast of others that are defined as The Persephone Originals – but more on those later.

It’s immediate and fabulous.

Chapter One introduces Mrs North, perhaps the most detestable creation in literature, but then you move to Chapter Two and you meet Louise Lanier and you reassess, for Mademoiselle Lanier takes being self-centred and narcissistic to previously unreachable levels – which obviously encourages the page turning and your disinterest in anything else until you have completed the tale.

You won’t go bouncing around the house afterwards, but you will be amazed and impressed but Whipple’s ability to read and write character.  You’ll also do an incredible amount of thinking whilst reading and afterwards, about the decisions people make.

Affairs – yes the kind of relationships I wish to avoid – do provide excellent reading material and previous to exploring the one which is recorded in the book, I had pretty strong views on them. Now…I’m questioning them. Not in a ‘Are they good or bad’ sense, rather the outsider’s opinion. You see, Mr North (abhorrent Mrs North’s son) finds himself in the thick one, and generally I’d think ‘Well good riddance’, but then you start to realise he’s not happy, never really was and is incapable of fixing it. I can’t say I was entirely sympathetic, but I did want to have a word and let him know he could make better choices…and therapy is an option.

I’m not saying ‘Gee I really feel for husbands that run off with the younger version of Not Me’, but it got me thinking pretty seriously about point of view.  Specifically telling stories in a different way, and how opinion can really sway things.

Then I thought, what the heck why not do some writing exercises, so I did and now I’m thinking, oh what the heck you can too (if you like).  Don’t be alarmed, they are brief and fun. Just do a little visualising and get going.

  1. Describe the ‘other woman’
  2. From whose point of view did you write this from?
  3. Change the point of view (maybe to her mum’s, lover’s, friend’s…)
  4. How does the wife feel about the ‘other woman’? (maybe she’s relieved, disinterested…)
  5. How does the man involved in the affair feel ? (over the moon, embarrassed…)

OK…so maybe you didn’t do the writing but I hope you did the thinking.  And now I’d highly recommend clicking on this link and ordering a copy
And whilst it’s happily resident in your shopping bag, go and experience further online happiness by navigating around the rest of their catalogue before you click confirm sale.