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Castle in the Air

21 pages11 minutes


Visiting his aunt's pub is normally a waiting game, sitting outside to avoid the musty smell of beer and bacca. But when old Smiler takes a seat beside him, sucking in pint after pint through his gingery whiskers, a whole new world of battles and bones opens up before him…

H. E. Bates – a prolific English novelist and short story writer – wrote 'Castle in the Air' for The Evening News in 1957, but the story was never re-printed in any of his later collections. In fact, its existence was forgotten until 2013 when it was spotted accidentally during a rummage through a newspaper archive. On re-discovering this charming and humorous short story – which exemplifies H.E. Bates's great skill of drawing vivid characters and his ability to create an almost tangible sense of a place – Bates's descendants felt it had to be shared with a wider audience.

Bloomsbury Reader is delighted to be re-publishing 'Castle in the Air' alongside the whole body of H. E. Bates's short fiction and novellas, and here we offer it as a free taste of Bates's irresistible writing.

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