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; 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; 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