Another Time, Another Place by Jessie Kesson

Black and White, 2003, 136 p. Borrowed from a threatened library.*

 Another Time, Another Place cover

I vaguely remember seeing a TV dramatization of this novel in the long ago but had forgotten most of the detail. In any case it seems to have been a film.

The novel focuses on the lives of a small farming community during World War 2. Three Italians, prisoners of war, have been billeted in a bothy next door to where the main character – described only as “the young woman” or “she” throughout, apart from one reference to “Mistress Ainslie” – lives with her husband. She is attracted to one of them, Paolo, but he seems oblivious and it is Luigi who is forever asking her if it is possible for them to “jiggy-jig,” to which she always says no. The ending of the war and the impending repatriation of the three leads the young woman to reflect on her own imprisonment, on the farm.

The (short) novel is good on the details of wartime farming and the complex emotions and resentments the situation engenders.

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  1. Denis Cullinan

    I’m interested in the question of Italians in Britain, mainly because by daughter’s husband ( Christopher Tamburrini) is of Italian distraction–I mean extraction.

    It seems that about 2,000 Italiam prisoners of war who were being held in Britain chose to become British subjects. If you have the time, you can read a piece about the Italian presence in Britain at http://samilitaryhistory.org/lectures/powukww2.html Quote: “Most of them were returned to Italy, but some 2,000 opted to stay in Britain – I would guess they joined up with the released Internees, – many of them staying in Scotland.”

  2. jackdeighton

    Denis,
    Some Italian POWs built a chapel for themselves to worship in. It was on one of the islands in Orkney. And yes some of them stayed. If you google Italian chapel Orkney you’ll see links to it – and photos.

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