People Who Say Goodbye

P.Y. Betts

Product Description

“The most amusing book of childhood memories I can remember reading.” – Graham Greene

Eighty years ago, when Wandsworth Common was till a countrified suburb, the author of this enchanting book was growing up there, observing with absolute clarity the behaviour and conversation of the adults around her. She did not always understand the implications of what she saw and heard, but she remembered it and here recreates it with startling immediacy. There were summer holidays at places that always seemed to begin with ‘B’, dark smoggy winters when she lay in bed wheezing and was dosed by an old fool of a doctor with either brown medicine or red tonic, dreaded Christmases with Grandfather and joyous schooldays with Mrs Stroud whose teaching consisted largely of dictation from the ‘Daily Mail’.

Phyliss was five when the First World War broke out and she was left with the abiding belief that people who say goodbye did not come back again. Written with the keen eye for humour that pervades all her work and with the candour of childhood, this delightful and refreshing book captivates all who read it.

P.Y. Betts was born in 1909 in London and published her first article in Punch at the age of eighteen, afterwards she contributed short stories and satire to various magazines. She travelled widely in Europe and the United States before spending part of the Second World War doing farm labour in East Anglia. After the war she moved, with an ark of animals, to a small farm in Wales where she lived in seclusion for the rest of her life.

“A read for sheer pleasure and intense delight… Haunting, unforgettable… nudges memory wonderfully, sadly, with great hilarity.”
Dirk Bogarde

“Sharply focused, coolly observant, very funny… an entrancing, ruthlessly authentic and immensely entertaining memoir.”
‘The Listener’

“One of the warmest and funniest autobiographies on the shelves.”
‘Daily Telegraph’

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