• The Fortnight in September

  • By: R.C. Sherriff
  • Narrated by: Jilly Bond
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (299 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This charming, timeless classic about a family of five setting out on their annual seaside vacation is “the most uplifting, life-affirming novel I can think of...the beautiful dignity to be found in everyday living has rarely been captured more delicately” (Kazuo Ishiguro).

Meet the Stevens family as they prepare to embark on their yearly holiday to the coast of England. Mr. and Mrs. Stevens first made the trip to Bognor Regis on their honeymoon, and the tradition has continued ever since. They stay in the same guesthouse and follow the same carefully honed schedule - now accompanied by their three children, 20-year-old Mary, 17-year-old Dick, and little brother Ernie. 

Arriving in Bognor, they head to Seaview, the guesthouse where they stay every year. It’s a bit shabbier than it once was - the landlord has died and his wife is struggling as the number of guests dwindles every year. But the family finds bliss in booking a slightly bigger cabana, with a balcony, and in their rediscovery of the familiar places they visit every year. 

Mr. Stevens goes on his annual walk across the downs, reflecting on his life, his worries and disappointments, and returns refreshed. Mrs. Stevens treasures an hour spent sitting alone with her medicinal glass of port. Mary has her first small taste of romance. And Dick pulls himself out of the malaise he’s sunk into since graduation, resolving to work towards a new career. The Stevenses savor every moment of their holiday, aware that things may not be the same next year. 

Delightfully nostalgic and soothing, The Fortnight in September is an extraordinary novel about ordinary people enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

©1931 R.C. Sherriff. Copyright renewed ©1959 The Estate of R.C. Sherriff. Originally published in Great Britain in 1931 by Victor Gollancz. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Fortnight in September

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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life-affirming and magical

I bought it only because Kazuo Ishiguro highly recommended it. It is everything as he said. The scope is incredibly small: a lower-middle class English family’s 2-week vacation at a modest seaside hotel. I cannot believe how tender each of the characters were treated, their most delicate feelings well drawn out, and how much empathy the author has for each of the characters’ everyday struggles and aspirations without indulging in sentimentality. It truly feels that I was on this vacation with them, and laughed and enjoyed and heart ached with them. I am sure I will read it over and over in the years to come, especially when I need a break!

35 people found this helpful

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A peaceful escape

I loved the slow, gentle flow of this book. It made me slow down and feel relaxed and happy. No need for a complicated plot or nonstop action. The premise of getting into the minds of each family member over a 2-week period was an interesting way to engage the reader and bring the characters to life.

21 people found this helpful

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A beautiful book

This simple, elegant book climbs into you and touches you in ways most stories don’t. A much-longed for family vacation and its details and plans, made more important because the older children are ready to fly, is a plot brimming with action.

Emotions and motives are clear and common to all of us. Like a good movie, scenes keep coming to my memory. A treasure.

11 people found this helpful

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Charming quiet but with depth

This book is quiet, but is written unerringly true to the characters; I feel renewed hope for the world with this family even in our imaginations. There won’t be, but I wish there could be a sequel.

11 people found this helpful

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This is delightful

Such a lovely novel about ordinary people on an ordinary holiday. Yet extraordinary how beautifully written it is. Thank you to Kazuo Ishiguro for reminding us.

11 people found this helpful

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Charming and exquisite simplicity

We are transported to the world of small people with small, ordinary lives and simple, banal pleasures but who are still able to dream and imagine ambitions. An insightful book which never loses touch with what it means to be human.

10 people found this helpful

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Delightful!

This was just the fortnight of holiday I needed in a trying time. The characters are so honestly portrayed you hope and blush and struggle with them. The story brought all the best of the south coast of England to life, I could almost hear the gulls and did not want the story or holiday to end.

7 people found this helpful

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Full of gentle nostalgia.

The story I invites you to think more about the small joys in life. It’s simple but poignant.

7 people found this helpful

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Good for the heart

Easy on the ears. Makes me want to buy the print version. Such contentment from this book and its characters.

6 people found this helpful

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A touching and delightful novel

about the dignity of “ordinary” life; about family, loyalty, love and sacrifice. Puts today’s celebration of victim hood to shame. Magnificent.

6 people found this helpful

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