David Constantine, short story writer, poet and translator recommends…

(CLASSIC: from The Prussian Officer and Other Stories, Penguin)

One of a score of stories by Lawrence I might have chosen. Best way to say why, is simply to quote Louisa, the younger of the vicar’s daughters, as she revolts and, unlike her sister, insists on a life of her own: ‘They are wrong – they are all wrong. They have ground out their souls for what isn’t worth anything, and there isn’t a grain of love in them anywhere. And I will have love. They want us to deny it. They’ve never found it, so they want to say it doesn’t exist. But I will have it. I will love – it is my birthright.’

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(MODERN: from Waving At The Gardener, Bloomsbury)

An extraordinarily fine story – understated, allusive – setting two lives together in a small space of time. Edie and Wil meet and show one another at least something of their very different selves, all under the rule and injunction of the story’s title. Jo Lloyd does what the best short-story writers do: holds up a brief passage of life, makes us feel its value and poignancy, then returns it into the flood of all things passing.

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