The Fortnight in September

October 30, 2020
The Fortnight in September

ASIN B00TR1LNPEOriginally published 1931The Fortnight in September, a bestseller in 1931, was avery brave book to write because it was not obviously ‘about’anything except the ‘drama of the undramatic’. And yet thegreatness of the novel is that it is about each one of us: all ofhuman life is here in the seemingly simple description of thefamily’s annual holiday in Bognor Regis.It embodies the kind of mundane normality the men in the dug-outlonged for – domestic life at 22 Corunna Road in Dulwich, the trainjourney via Clapham Junction to the south coast, the two weeksliving in lodgings and going to the beach every day. The family’sonly regret is leaving their garden where, we can imagine, becauseit is September the dahlias are at their fiery best: as they flashpast in the train they get a glimpse of their back garden, where ‘ashaft of sunlight fell through the side passage and lit up theclump of white asters by the apple tree.’ This was what the FirstWorld War soldiers longed for; this, he imagined, was what he wasfighting for and would return to (as in fact Sherriff did).He had had the idea for his novel at Bognor Regis: watching thecrowds go by, and wondering what their lives were like at home, he‘began to feel the itch to take one of those families at random andbuild up an imaginary story of their annual holiday by the sea...Iwanted to write about simple, uncomplicated people doing normalthings.’