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The Flying Goat.
Story Collection
Page Count
Jonathan Cape
Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd
Publication Year
Document Types
available as ebook

London: Jonathan Cape, 1939 (September 1). 320 pp.
Dedication: "To Richard Church."

Sixteen stories, thirteen of which were initially published in magazines, in a variety of modes: four that address social issues; a short slapstick sketch; a number of tales addressing romantic, family, or marital tension; one Uncle Silas tale; and three that hearken back to Bates's boyhood and Midlands roots.

Richard Church, writing in John O'London's Weekly, characterizes the collection as "not up to standard...It would be a terrible thing if Mr. Bates...gets too facile, or becomes satisfied with quick but superficial effects." Graham Greene, writing in The Spectator aptly describes one of Bates's great strengths: "Nothing is ever explained; no neat line is ever drawn at the end of a story — the idea goes crying on, inarticulate." And he suggests that Bates is guilty of sometimes writing "magazine stories" — which "can be recognised between covers by the fact that [they leave] nothing behind; the plot is astutely tied up, and the author clears his characters away as effectively as a high explosive bomb." While the reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement also notes "something of facility in several of them and...also a tendency towards repetition," he also finds "The White Pony" and "The Ox" to be "faultless things, jewels as luminous and as finely cut as any Mr. Bates has turned out. In each of them the evocative strength of his countryside pictures is joined to a still and poignant emotion that seems to project a background of universal experience for a particularly sorrow."


  • John O'London's Weekly (September 8, 1939, p. 778, Sean O'Faolain, attached)
  • Spectator (October 13, 1939, p. 524, Graham Greene, attached)
  • The Times (September 2, 1939, p. 11, attached)
  • Times Literary Supplement (September 2, 1939, p. 513, R.D. Charques, attached)

Contains: The White Pony, Every Bullet Has Its Billet, A Funny Thing, Chateau Bougainvillaea, The Ship, Perhaps We Shall Meet Again..., The Machine, I Am Not Myself, The Flying Goat, The Late Public Figure, The Blind, Shot Actress—Full Story, The Dog and Mr. Morency, The Wreath, Elephant's Nest in a Rhubarb Tree, The Ox. ebook edition (Bloomsbury, 2016) also contains Pensioned Off.


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.