Dedicated to classics and hits.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Living (novel) (1929) by Henry Green

Book Review
Living (novel) (1929)
by Henry Green
Penguin Classics

  Almost 25% done with the 1001 Books Project- the next review will be #250/1001.  Generally speaking, the 20th century books are distinctly less of a challenge than the 19th or (shudder) 18th century books.  First, they aren't written in old timey English.  Second, they are shorter.  Third, they aren't so deadly dull.  Green is another example of why this project is so interesting- English writer- literally, had never heard of him, ever, and he's got at least five books on the 1001 Books list, so here I am, getting familiar.

  Living is not his first novel- he wrote Blindness whilst still a lad, but according to John Updike, who wrote the introduction to the three-in-one Penguin Classics edition I checked out from the library, Green more or less disavowed Blindness, totally omitting it from the autobiography he wrote before heading off to World War II.

   Living tells the tale of a bunch of folks who either work or own a steel plant in.... Birmingham- I think. Green wrote Living in a particular style that rates as "experimental" but is separate from the typical "stream of consciousness" narration that James Joyce brought to the fore in the mid 1920s.  Particularly, Green omits articles from his sentences, so no "the's" or "A's."  I'm actually sympatico with that effort, but it does make Living, in combination with Green's insistence on having factory workers speak like factory workers, a bit of a slog.

  Still not totally sold on the brilliance of Green as a writer, but I've got what, two, maybe three more books to read so there is still time.

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