The Yellow Meads of Asphodel by H.E. Bates ~ 1976. This edition: Penguin, 1986. Paperback. ISBN: 0-14-004620-8. 95 pages.
My rating: 9/10
This slender collection of short stories, published two years after H.E. Bates’ death in 1972, is something of a hodge-podge, no uniting theme present except that they were all written by a master observer of both nature and the human race.
A review snippet from the back cover sums up this writer’s style quite nicely: “All the clotted cream of a sensuous rusticity…” (Scotsman)
Just the briefest of comments on the seven stories in this collection, because you need to encounter H.E. Bates at first hand for purest pleasure.
Professor Plumley is unmasked as the mysterious person leaving lavish offers of fruit on Miss Shuttleworth’s doorstep. Is this merely a way of ridding himself of excess garden produce, or is love about to bloom in two elderly hearts?
The Yellow Meads of Asphodel
Middle-aged siblings living together in the house willed to them by their parents find their staid life turned on end when one of them falls in love.
A Taste of Blood
Dhillon falls unaccountably afoul of a gang of violent bikers.
The Love Letters of Miss Maitland
Repressed Miss Maitland allows her imagination to supply her with a lover, whose reality is too readily accepted by her friends.
The Lap of Luxury
Roger Stiles, on a journey of post-war reminiscence in France, finds himself cut adrift in the summer countryside. The offer of a ride from a presumably widowed Frenchwoman leads to a long dream-time of love in a luxurious country château. How long could it last?
Loss of Pride
Rustic philosopher Uncle Silas relates the downfall of a bully.
The House by the River
Beware the real estate deal too good to be true; it may have some strange strings attached…