Literature and War Readalong March 28 2013: The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen

The Heat of The Day

March is Elizabeth Bowen month for me. I’m reading her short stories and Victoria Glendinning’s Bowen biography. It’s time to get to one of her novels and I’m looking forward to reading The Heat of the Day. In the foreword to her biography Glendinning writes

She is to be spoken of in the same breath as Virginia Woolf, on whom much more breath has been expended. She shares much of Virginia Woolf’s perception and sensibility: but Elizabeth Bowen’s perception and sensibility are more incisive, less confined, more at home in the world as well as in world’s elsewhere.

The Heat of the Day is set in London in September 1942. It’s called “a noir” which isn’t exactly a genre I would have expected from Elizabeth Bowen but she has a knack for the mysterious and less obvious which, I’m sure, will make this a great read.

Here are the first sentences

That Sunday, from six o’clock in the evening, it was a Viennese orchestra that played. The season was late for an outdoor concert; already leaves were drifting on to the grass stage – here and there one turned over, crepitating as though in the act of dying, and during the music some more fell.


The discussion starts on Thursday, 28 March 2013.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2013, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.