Saturday, May 27, 2023

“Far and few between” in Gemma Files’s “The Kindly Ones"

A student chose "The Worm in Every Heart", a 2004 collection of short stories by Gemma Files, for an oral exam next week. While reading the book, I came across a variation on a familiar expression in "The Kindly Ones", as a mother recalls her rare contacts with her runaway daughter: "The postcards, far and few between as they were, retained an ever more strained optimism." I wondered if this was a one-off slip from "few and far between", or perhaps an occasional recent variation, but "far and few between" turns out to have been found in print as early as 1843 (while "few and far between" goes back to 1668. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 May 2023)

Note: The information in the last sentence comes from this blog post.

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