INTRODUCED BY PHILIP HENSHER
'Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth. As a reader, I have found huge pleasure in returning to Taylor's novels and short stories many times over. As a writer I've returned to her too - in awe of her achievements, and trying to work out how she does it' SARAH WATERS
A brilliant novel about the damage caused by relentless 'niceness'. Uncritical, encouraging, 'the soul of kindness', Flora's help is the cruelest hindrance to those who love her most.
'Here I am!' Flora called to Richard as she went downstairs. For a second, Meg felt disloyalty. It occurred to her of a sudden that Flora was always saying that, and that it was in the tone of one giving a lovely present.
Elegant, blonde and beautiful, Flora has everything under control: her perfect home, her husband Richard, her friend Meg, adoring Kit, and the writer Patrick.
Flora entrances everyone, dangling visions of happiness and success before their spellbound eyes. All are bewitched by this golden tyrant. Except, that is, for the clear-eyed painter, Liz, who can see that Flora's kindness is the sweetest poison of them all.
Depressed, depressing, depressingest
This is one "modern classic" brought back into circulation by a vintage publisher, which should have remained buried. Bored and boring characters swim through a seemingly unending plotless swamp of despair. The only reason I finished it was to see of the misery ever ended. It didn't.
I don't know if this author's other works are this gloomy and despondent, but won't attempt to find out.