First published in the UK by Knopf in 1948 [below] and in the USA the following year, The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen is one of the ‘must read’ novels about London in World War Two. Written during the war and highly regarded for its authenticity, it is both a spy story and a mystery.
Time is a theme running throughout the novel both in the sense that war has severed the connection between the present and the past, and that time is precious and every minute is essential. Bowen liked to lift the lid from orderly life to see what lurked beneath.
My dog-eared Vintage Classics paperback is the 1998 edition [above]. My favourite cover is probably the 1986 Penguin edition [see ‘Other Editions’ below] with its striking sketch of a young woman with her coat collar turned up.
Read my review of The Heat of the Day.
The current edition by Vintage Classics [above] is available as paperback and Kindle.
BUY THE BOOK
The story starts at a concert in a London park during The Blitz. Stella and Louie are displaced women in the city, both are unfaithful in their relationships. The main focus is on the triangular relationship between Stella and her lover Robert Kelway, and the interfering Harrison, a British intelligence agent. Robert, who loves with Stella, is convinced that Robert is a German spy.
Films & Television
In 1989, a Granada Television drama production featured Patricia Hodge, Michael Gambon, Michael York, Peggy Ashcroft and Imelda Staunton. Watch at You Tube.
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition THE HEAT OF THE DAY by Elizabeth Bowen #oldbooks #bookcovers https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4A1 via @SandraDanby