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Francis Wyndham Biography

(1924– ), Out of the War, The Theatre of Embarrassment. Mrs Henderson and Other Stories

war stories short fiction

British novelist, short-story writer, and critic, born in London. He wrote his first stories between the ages of 17 and 20, before being called up and after being invalided out of the army. Not published until 1974, as Out of the War, they recreate the conditions of aimless expectancy known to those left behind whilst a war was being waged elsewhere. Abandoning fiction, Wyndham worked as a reviewer, feature writer, and editor: a collection of his incisive and original pieces on books and performance, as well as his interviews with non-literary figures such as actresses and photographers (a form which in his hands took on the quirky poignancy of his short stories), was published in 1991 under the title The Theatre of Embarrassment. Mrs Henderson and Other Stories (1985) represents Wyndham's return to imaginative writing; its five pieces give an elliptical account of their narrator's progress from childhood to late middle age, but focus on the petty preoccupations and glamorous irrationality of others—the mother of a schoolfriend, a war correspondent brother, a self-obsessed fellow author. The short novel The Other Garden (1987) reverts to the experience of the war years, and like all Wyndham's fiction weighs the droll absurdity and disregarded drama of non-combatant life against the privileges of detachment. It is also characteristic in its economy and in the subtle intelligence with which it combines the meditative and the explosively comic.

John Wyndham, the best-known pseudonym of John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris Biography - (1903–69), the best-known pseudonym of John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, The Secret People [next]

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