Second chances

Second chances: The Marble Staircase, by Elizabeth Fair, reviewed

To reject ‘in rainy middle age the poignant emotions that belonged to youth and Italy’ is the lesson learned by the heroine of Elizabeth Fair’s last novel. More than 60 years after its author consigned the typescript to a black tin trunk, following her literary agent’s failure to find a publisher for this, her seventh novel, The Marble Staircase finally sees the light. This is thanks to Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press, the company responsible for reprinting the six light, romantic comedies that, in the 1950s, earned Fair an appreciative following and commendations from writers such as Compton Mackenzie, John Betjeman and Stevie Smith. Literary rediscoveries are always potentially