A Summer To Decide concludes Pamela Hansford Johnson's highly acclaimed trilogy, the first two volumes of which are Too Dear For My Possessing and An Avenue Of Stone. Helena, the presiding genius of the trilogy, dies near the outset of this book, leaving only her indomitable spirit to help her children struggle on without her. For her daughter, Charmian, having just given birth to a daughter herself, and trapped in a marriage to the now drunken and womanizing Evan, it is truly a struggle; one which is relieved only by her absorption in her child, by Evan's inevitable downfall, and by the passionate concern of her half-brother, Claud. Pamela Hansford Johnson is in confident control of her art and in all her characters -- in Evan and his pathetic mother, in Charmian and Claud -- she gives us the true and deep understanding of human nature which enriches all her novels. 'A most impressive achievement' Isabel Quigley, Biographer
Pamela Hansford Johnson was born in 1912 and gained recognition with her first novel, This Bed Thy Centre, published in 1935. She wrote 27 novels. Her themes centred on the moral responsibility of the individual in their personal and social relations. The fictional genres she used ranged from romantic comedy (Night and Silence, Who Is Here?) and high comedy (The Unspeakable Skipton) to tragedy (The Holiday Friend) and the psychological study of cruelty (An Error of Judgement). Her last novel, A Bonfire, was published in the year of her death, 1981. She was a critic as well as a novelist and wrote books on Thomas Wolfe and Ivy Compton-Burnett; Six Proust Reconstructions (1958) confirmed her reputation as a leading Proustian scholar. She also wrote a play, Corinth House (1954), a work of social criticism arising out of the Moors Trial, On Iniquity (1967), and a book of essays, Important to Me (1974). She received honorary degrees from six universities and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was awarded the C.B.E. in 1975. Pamela Hansford Johnson, who had two children by her first marriage with journalist Gordon Neil Stewart, later married C. P. Snow. Their son Philip was born in 1952.
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