- Paperback: 138 pages
- Publisher: St. Martins Press-3PL; Reprint edition (1 July 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312423268
- ISBN-13: 978-0312423261
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.9 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 136 g
- Customer Reviews: 10 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Evening of the Holiday Paperback – 1 July 2004
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"Charged with great power...The impact on the reader is extraordinarily intense." --The New York Times Book Review
"Short, elegant, and very good...A beautifully precise, ironic and yet evocative style." --The New York Review of Books
"An authentic work of art...A cause for delight and gratitude...Beautiful, absorbing, satisfying." --Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016) was born in Australia, and in early years traveled the world with her parents due to their diplomatic postings. At sixteen, living in Hong Kong, she was engaged by British Intelligence, where, in 1947-48, she was involved in monitoring the civil war in China. Thereafter, she lived in New Zealand and in Europe; in the United States, where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York; and in Italy. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994.
Ms. Hazzard's novels are The Evening of the Holiday (1966), The Bay of Noon (1970), The Transit of Venus (1981) and The Great Fire (2003). She is also the author of two collections of short fiction, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories (1963) and People in Glass Houses (1967). Her nonfiction works include Defeat of an Ideal (1973), Countenance of Truth (1990), and the memoir Greene on Capri (2000). She lived in New York, with sojourns in Italy.
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Top international reviews
I thought of it as historical fiction of the 1960s in Europe. The story of a summer “affair” is told by an omniscient narrator making the reader privy to the two main character’s inner thoughts, which happen to be 1960s-style sexist and racist! But the 1960s setting also informs the ending which is different than it would be in 2020. It’s elegantly written and proved to be quite a satisfying short read.
Unlike contemporary writers, Hazzard does not pin every detail on the page - readers are required to think. There is always an elegance in Hazzard's work, even in this early, straightforward novel.
No, this isn't my favorite novel of hers, but I quite liked it and felt that, as always, she gives us a new perspective, taking ordinary subject matter and looking at it afresh. The novel is quite evocative of both time and place, but mostly of feeling. Hazzard writes about life with all its complications. There are no bromides, no up-by-the-bootstraps, empowerment solutions for Hazzard's characters. They make (or sometimes don't make) choices and then must live with the messy consequences.
I'd say read this novel, if for nothing else, to hear Hazzard's unique voice again. You'll get more out of it than just that, but it's worth it just for that!
completes the holiday.