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On the face of it the story is about a woman who is given reason to suspect that the man with whom she is in love is betraying his country Another man is on his track, and a triangular situation develops. All the elements of a hunter-and-hunted thriller are here, but what she makes of them is an internal drama of remarkable perception and understanding in a domestic setting in embattled London. Her imagin-ative interpretation of the effect of war on the manners, morals and emotions of those not directly engaged in the fighting is drawn from an uncannily poignant recall of the wartime London scene.
Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and land-owner. She travelled a great deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, the family house in County Cork which she inherited. Her first book, a collection of shorts stories, Encounters, was published in 1923. The Hotel (1926) was her first novel. She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.