Summer Half

  • by Angela Thirkell
  • Narrated by Penelope Freeman
  • 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A captivating comic novel from Angela Thirkell's much-loved 1930s Barsetshire series: trainee barrister Colin Keith makes an ill-advised foray into teaching at Southbridge School.
To his parents' dismay, Colin Keith - out of the noble but misplaced sense of duty peculiar to high-minded young university graduates - chooses to quit his training for the Bar and take a teaching job at Southbridge School.
Little does Colin imagine that he will count among his pupils the demon in human form known as Tony Morland; or that the master's ravishing, feather-brained daughter Rose will, with her flights of fancy and many admirers, spread chaos throughout school and village. Humorous, high-spirited and cleverly observed, Summer Half is a comic delight.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Some wonderful characters.

This is the fourth Angela Thirkell book I’ve read this week, and by quite a distance it’s my favourite. The characters are really well drawn, I particularly like the two school boys who treat the school & its masters as a sort of science experiment that they are conducting.

Over all I really enjoyed the book, but be warned; the social mores of the age are writ large across the book and these are very interesting if occasionally disconcerting. There are brief, but eye popping bits of casual racism which stopped me in my tracks. In the other Thirkell books I’ve read it’s usually been Jewish people (I’m Jewish) who got it in the neck, but what I’ve noticed is the characters will often say something that to modern readers is awful, but the way it’s said is as if it’s just a statement of fact, not a criticism. No more note worthy to the other characters than if they’d remarked on the weather.

The other elements of Thirkell’s books, like the way clever women either downplay their cleverness or are dismissed as not really clever, are fascinating and horrifying in equal measure. I hope that this was written with the author’s tongue firmly in her cheek.

I don’t think these moments should put you off reading an otherwise enjoyable book, to me it’s interesting to see how far society has come in 80 years. It’s a vision of Britain that I for one would not like to return to even if endless summers of tennis on the lawn & house parties sound wonderful.
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- LettyBIRD

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-07-2015
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK