A Party for the Girls
Fiction by H. E. Bates
The six long stories of A Party for the Girls present H.E. Bates at his finest. A crack shot at understated tragedy, Bates is perhaps at his best with comedy and character––consider the opening line of the title story: “Miss Tompkins, who was seventy-six, bright pink-looking in a bath-salts sort of way and full of an alert but dithering energy, looked out the drawing-room window for the twentieth time since breakfast and found herself growing increasingly excited.” Though virtually unknown here, as Publishers Weekly put it in their review of Bates’s A Month by the Lake & Other Stories (1987), his nearly perfect stories…should set his readers clamoring for more… He is as adept at the seductive rise and fall of his narrative voice as he is cunning with naturalistic dialogue. Comparisons to Joyce, Chekhov, and Mansfield are inevitable.