Furrowed Middlebrow, Persephone, Virago, conscription, fifties realism, Rachel Ferguson, Winifred Peck

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‘I can’t go back. I’d rather die—I’d rather be dead.’

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Description

‘I can’t go back. I’d rather die—I’d rather be dead.’

Neil Collins is going AWOL from his National Service – for the third time. Twice he has served time for previous desertions and been sent back, despite being hopelessly unsuited to military life. This time, terrorized by a bullying fellow soldier determined to escape himself, Neil intends to make his escape a permanent one. He heads to London, to the dreary, claustrophobic rooms where his twin sister, Nonie, and their dying grandmother live, periodically invaded by prying neighbours, a little girl who has befriended Mrs Collins, a curious social worker, and other uninvited visitors.

The Fledgeling (1958) traces the single day following Neil’s desertion, and its impacts on Neil, Nonie, the tough-as-nails Mrs Collins, and others. Each of the characters comes vividly alive in Faviell’s sensitive and observant prose. At times containing all the tension of a thriller, at others a profound drama of familial turmoil, Faviell’s third and final novel is dramatic, compelling, and emotionally wrenching. This new edition features an afterword by Frances Faviell’s son, John Parker, and additional supplementary material.

Praise

‘A writer of unusual skill and delicacy in suggesting nuances of feeling and of character’Orville Prescott

‘She writes with a sharpness of outline which would not shame Simenon.’J.W. Lambert, SUNDAY TIMES

Bibliographic Data

Category: General Fiction
Publication Date: October 2016
Territories: World
ISBN: 978 1 911413 85 1 (paperback)/978 1 911413 86 8 (ebook)

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‘Take off your coat,’ said the doctor. I took it off. ‘And your dress,’ he said. ‘It’s too dangerous – the folds may catch in the debris and bring the whole thing down.’ I took off the dress. ‘Fine,’ he said shortly. ‘It’ll have to be head first. We’ll hold your thighs. Go down and see if it’s possible to give an injection. Can you grip the torch with your teeth?’

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‘You don’t want to mind about any of this,’ said the driver, waving a hand at the grey ruins and the greyer dust. ‘In a few days you’ll be so used to it that you’ll like them. Berlin’s a grand place! I’d rather be here than anywhere else in the world, and that’s a fact.’

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‘Heartrending but irresistible.’ Rosaleen Whateley, LIVERPOOL DAILY POST

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‘You are a virgin?’

‘Yes.’

‘How dull! What’s the use of being a woman if you’re a virgin?’

‘One has to begin sometime,’ I agreed.

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