Penelope Fitzgerald’s cropped up twice these past few days. Once on a just-read March 5 post from the House of Mirth, which posted this wonderful short letter she wrote to a bookseller who thought she might be interested in buying some books on Cairo. A second time in the Guardian, in an interesting article by Rachel Cooke about the essential role played by Virago in her literary education, a judgement I wholeheartedly endorse. She writes:
I once asked a famous British novelist who he regarded as the great post-war 20th-century novelist, and when he said ‘Penelope Fitzgerald’, even I – very shaming, this – was temporarily flummoxed.
I don’t know who the famous British novelist is (any ideas?), but I agree with him. So it’s very good news that her letters are due out in May, from Fourth Estate, as So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald.