Posts Tagged ‘Alice Thomas Ellis’

A Few More Older Novels Written by Women that Are Too Good to be Forgotten


These are all novels that got my highest rating when I read them. For this article, I have intentionally steered away from novels and authors that have been discussed often recently already.


‘The Sin Eater’ (1977) by Alice Thomas Ellis (1932-2005) – The Welsh writer Alice Thomas Ellis had a dark and strange sense of humor. ‘The Sin Eaters’ tells of family strife as they all come for a final visit to their ailing patriarch.



‘Tirra Lirra by the River’ (1978) by Jessica Anderson (1916-2010) – Here is an Australian novel about a woman escaping a selfish sanctimonious husband and a failed marriage by relocating in London. The year it was published, the Washington Post said “There may be a better novel than Tirra Lirra by the River this year, but I doubt it.”


‘During the Reign of the Queen of Persia’ (1983) by Joan Chase (1936-2018) – No, this does not take place in ancient times in the Middle East. It is the story of a family in rural Ohio during the 1950s. It should be easy to find since it was reissued by NYBR in 2014.



‘Three Paths to the Lake’ (1972) by Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973) – OK, this is a collection of five stories, not a novel. Each of the stories is a portrait of an Austrian woman trying to make a go of it in a male-dominated society in the 1960s.



‘Invitation to the Waltz’ (1932) by Rosamond Lehmann (1901-1990) – I am enormously impressed by most of the writings by Rosamond Lehmann, and I could have mentioned several others here. ‘Invitation to the Waltz’ is a good example of her work. It is the story of a young woman preparing for her first society dance.



‘The Widow’s Children’ (1976) by Paula Fox (1923-2017) – Here is a powerful novel that takes place during a single night while a family goes out to dinner. Most of the novel is intense dialogue.




‘A Dubious Legacy’ (1994) by Mary Wesley (1912-2002) – An English novel about a bizarre marriage. While stationed abroad during World War II, a man marries a complete stranger at his father’s request. When the war is over, the man brings his bride back to his estate. Upon her arrival, she punches him in the eye and marches upstairs to her bedroom where she will stay for most of the time afterwards.


All of the writers mentioned here are worthy and deserving of being remembered by future generations.



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