Throughout these seventy-nine stories - love stories, ghost stories, stories of childhood, of English middle-class life in the twenties and thirties, of London during the Blitz - Elizabeth Bowen combines social comedy and reportage, perception and vision in an oeuvre which reveals, as Angus Wilson affirms in his introduction, that 'the instinctive artist is there at the very heart of her work'.
Celebrated for her much-admired novels, including The Heat of the Day and The Death of the Heart, Bowen established herself in the front rank of the century's writers equally through her short fiction.
Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and land-owner. She travelled a great deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, the family house in County Cork which she inherited. Her first book, a collection of shorts stories, Encounters, was published in 1923. The Hotel (1926) was her first novel. She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.