The original U.S. blurb says it well, "...But some readers consider her short stories the best vehicle for her impeccable craftsmanship, her peerless ability to sketch in a few deft lines a man or woman in a brief moment of destiny - tragic, comic, absurd or moving. These fourteen new stories are once again evidence of her wit and irony, her grace and poise." "A Spirit Rises" comprises fourteen stories: "Youth and the Lady"; "The Locum Tenens"; "The Fifth of November"; "A Question of Disposal"; "Barnby Robinson"; "In a Shaken House"; "The Old Nun"; "Randolph"; "On Living for Others"; "A Dressmaker"; "A Spirit Rises"; "The Snow Guest"; "During a Winter Night"; and, "A Work of Art". Many of the stories first appeared in "The New Yorker" which makes the dedication to William Maxwell all the more appropriate. "A Spirit Rises" is one of four collections of Sylvia Townsend Warner's short stories that Faber Finds are reissuing: "Winter in the Air"; "A Spirit Rises"; "A Stranger with a Bag"; and, "Scenes of Childhood". "Miss Townsend Warner, as always, comes up to scratch with the sheer caress of her style.
The stories in "A Spirit Rises", private, utterly leisured, are like charades played by angels - albeit rather sardonic ones, and in a slightly unreal hothouse. The choice and rhythm of her words are not to be wolfed; be patient, keep the mind free to wander on a quickening phrase or a squint of humour." (David Hughes, "Sunday Times").