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H. E. Bates was born in 1905 in Northamptonshire. He worked as a journalist and clerk on a local newspaper before publishing his first book, The Two Sisters, when he was twenty. In the next fifteen years he acquired a distinguished reputation for his stories about English country life. During the Second World War he was a Squadron Leader in the R.A.F. The Darling Buds of May (1958), the first of the popular Larkin family novels, was followed by A Breath of French Air (1959), When the Green Woods Laugh (1960), Oh! To Be in England (1963) and A Little of What You Fancy (1970). His works have been translated into sixteen languages. H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. in 1973 and died in January 1974.
They are absolute comfort books . . . all five titles are being rereleased just in time for summer * The Lady * Pop is as sexy, genial, generous, and boozy as ever. Ma is a worthy match for him in all these qualities -- The * Times * As funny as Evelyn Waugh and as enchanting as Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie. Don't miss it -- - * Herald * Pop Larkin, Ma and their progeny . . . are essentially English of the rich and ribald England of Chaucer and Shakespeare. A superb and timeless comedy -- - * Scotsman * A wistful daydream about innocence and happiness -- - * Spectator * The high mid-summer pomps of tree and flower are evoked with gusto -- - * The Times Literary Supplement *