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4.5 out of 5 stars16
4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is the last of the Larkin Chronicles and has a real sense of poignancy about it. In a more gentle way it reminds me of Hardy's mourning for the end of an era in his Wessex novels. Here Pop has to deal with an influx of Teddy boys who want to ruin the farm. Although victorious you feel that he knows that it is only a temporary measure and the golden days of summer cannot last forever. A sensitive and gently funny book about the end of a dream.
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on 17 November 2009
Bates uses his fantastic language in this fourth novel about Pop Larkin and his eccentric family in the Kentish countryside. It has it's funny moments thanks to his extraordinary word choices and descriptions of things. But unfortunately the storyline in this fourth book is much weaker than the previous ones.
It's a sentimental ode to an England that is disappearing. In a way the book resembles his short story collections more than a novel since he this time does not have a real thread throughout the book and seems to have had lots of different ideas for it. It starts with a story on how Pop decides on humiliating an arrogant Captain. But that story has nothing to do with the rest of the book. Then there is violence in form of modern youths deciding to pick on old-fashioned villagers and customs. One does not want things to really go THAT dark in a Pop Larkin novel where everything is always so wild, funny and cozy. What the book mostly is about though is the christening of Pop's youngest son, Oscar who has turned 3 years old and that of his two month old grandson, Blenheim. All the Larkin children decide to get christened at the same time as "the babies" and a character from book two, Mademoiselle Dupont, shows up in this novel as a godmother. But Bates does not really follow up on her character that well. He concentrates more on the fact that Ma has started to paint nudes, especially of daughter Mariette who has just become a mother, and he also deals a lot with the fact that the now 14-year old Primrose Larkin, tries to seduce the interim priest in the parish.
Can I recommend the book? Yes, because I think that the fifth and final novel will much build on this one and that is how I felt when I read this book: It's a book one must get through to understand and enjoy the next one.
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on 4 July 2011
If you enjoy watching Darling Buds of May, then have a read of the books. They are brilliant. The books are as funny and as good as the series. At first I thought there was just three books, and quite recently I found there is another two books written. This one Oh! To Be In England is the fourth one in the series. Of course the stories are about Ma and Pop Larkin and what goes on in and around the family and friends. Reading these books is a great way to escape from normal day to day life now.
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on 5 June 2013
As in other reviews of H.E.Bates work, love it takes one back to a world where people mattered more than wealth, when manners made man not what was in their bank accounts, Pa Larkin is such a lovable rogue
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on 16 June 2014
A classic - England protrayed in the microcosm of Kent - whether it is made in Kent or Kentish made either way the result is quintessentially English
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on 17 March 2016
The book itself is probably lovely but it is not printed correctly. There are sections out of sync and I suspect some content is missing.
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on 6 July 2015
If only England was really like this!! Such joyful books. I recommend them to anyone who needs a pick me up!
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on 31 August 2014
Full of nostalgia an enjoyable read. As with his other books Bates paints a picture in words of the time.
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on 7 February 2013
We had a hard copy of this but as it was one of our favourites, we wanted it on our Kindle Paperwhite
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on 10 December 2012
very good pleased ( i will not write words that I do not want to write even to make it 17 words)
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