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Old 07-09-2017, 11:33 AM   #1
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Loving by Henry Green

'One of his most admired works, Loving describes life above and below stairs in an Irish country house during the Second World War. In the absence of their employers the Tennants, the servants enact their own battles and conflict amid rumours about the war in Europe, invading one another's provinces of authority to create an anarchic environment of self-seeking behaviour, pilfering, gossip and love.'

This is the MR Literary Club selection for July 2017. Whether you've already read it or would like to, feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time, and guests are always welcome! So, what are your thoughts on it?

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Old 07-09-2017, 05:59 PM   #2
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Here is a detailed article about Henry Green from The New Yorker in Oct 2016. It provides a glimpse of what to expect. I skipped over the section on Loving to avoid any spoilers. I thought that it was interesting that he was an industrialist as his day-job and wrote under a different name.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...-unknowability

Quote:
The Henry Green novel—typically portraying failures of love and understanding, and noisy with the vernacular of industrialists and Cockneys, landowners and servants—was terse, intimate, full of accident and unnerving comedy, exquisite though still exuberant, sensual and whimsical, reflexively figurative yet always surprising, preoccupied with social nuance, generational discord, and sensory phenomena while maintaining an air of abstraction, as reflected in those flighty gerund titles. (The Oxford classicist Maurice Bowra, who knew the undergraduate Green, said that his mind “worked with a piercing insight, stripping men and ideas of their disguises and going straight to some central point.”)
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One of the things that appealed to Green’s admirers, such as Southern and the French writer Nathalie Sarraute—and, later, John Updike—was that he had thought deeply about what he was doing. In this, he resembled Henry James, whose preface to “What Maisie Knew” he had read carefully. Green was going for something that was not so different: fiction that was illuminating, yet disorderly enough to convey—in James’s words, “really to represent”—a sense of life. And, as with James, the desire led him in extreme directions.
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Old 07-14-2017, 03:48 PM   #3
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This looks like a very interesting title! However, I'll wait a bit before I get going in it as I am still reading and enjoying Lucky Jim.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:14 PM   #4
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That was an excellent book. Thanks so much, sun surfer.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:15 AM   #5
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I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, bfisher! Like fantasyfan I'm still a bit back enjoying Lucky Jim but should jump up to this soon.

Thanks for the interesting article quotes, Bookworm_Girl; I have the article set to read once I'm onto the book.
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Old 07-19-2017, 01:21 AM   #6
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I finished the book last night. I enjoyed it even more than I anticipated. It really did represent a slice of life between "once upon a day" and "happily ever after." I liked the focus on the servants rather than a balance between upstairs & downstairs. The prose was very unusual. The phrasing was sometimes awkward and the punctuation optional. There was intentional ambiguity or obfuscation. Yet, I just wanted to keep reading and couldn't put it down. This book is the type that one could enjoy more on a second reading and pick up nuances missed the first time. Thanks for nominating it, sun surfer!
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
This book is the type that one could enjoy more on a second reading and pick up nuances missed the first time.
Absolutely. I really enjoyed it the first time around, but was mainly following the plot and characterization. I would like to read this book again - soon.
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Old 07-21-2017, 02:03 PM   #8
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Really glad you enjoyed it too Bookworm_Girl. You and bfisher have me looking forward to it more than I already was (almost done with the Amis and should be onto this within a few days).
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:21 AM   #9
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I enjoyed the sense of play in this novel. It opens with a Rosebud moment. It closes with "...they were married and lived happily ever after", although Green has given us reason to suspect their relationship will be much more complex than that. Then there is that lovely bit where Charlie is dribbling the daffodil down the passageway.
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