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Books

Stella Gibbons’s ‘lost work’ should have remained in the drawer

The previously unpublished Pure Juliet will be cold comfort for fans of Gibbons’s famous first novel

16 January 2016

9:00 AM

16 January 2016

9:00 AM

Pure Juliet Stella Gibbons

Vintage Classics, pp.352, £8.99, ISBN: 9781784870270

One of the great fascinations of a ‘lost’ work by a famous name dredged up out of the vault after a lapse of several decades lies in establishing precisely when it was written. The jacket of Pure Juliet offers no clue, but parenthetic mention of Star Wars being on at the Odeon and an old lady who fears the depredations of the IRA suggests a composition mark sometime in the late 1970s — at any rate somewhere near the point when Stella Gibbons (1902–1989) was approaching her 80th year.

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