The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald

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The Independent Culture

Fitzgerald's last collection of short stories, published posthumously and culled from various publications, shows the writer in spry literary fettle up until the end. Famously unpublished until her sixties, she writes stories that radiate an authorial calm. Many of them are set in foreign climes (Tasmania, Scotland, the French Riviera) and many are period pieces, though the funniest story in the collection, "Not Shown", concerns some very un-English in-fighting among the "room stewards" of a stately home.