Readers who have discovered the delights of the British master storyteller H.E. Bates in A Month by the Lake and A Party for the Girls (published by New Directions in 1987 and 1988) will welcome this third collection, Elephant's Nest in a Rhubarb Tree. Gathered here are twenty stories written between 1938 and 1964 which, like those of Chekhov, to whom Bates has often been compared, are gems of human observation. There is the sheer hilarity of "An Italian Haircut," the wincing cruelty of "The Captain," the childhood enchantment of "Love in a Wych Elm," the estrangments of divorce in "Some Other Spring"––to mention just a few of the colors on H.E. Bates' palette. And any reader who has met the dotty Aunt Leonora (in "The Chords of Youth" and "A Month by the Lake") will relish meeting her again in the "The Trespasser," the concluding story of this volume.
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