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Love On The Dole Paperback – 17 Jun 1993


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (17 Jun. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009922481X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099224815
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Being conceived in suffering and written in blood, it profoundly moves its audience." (The Times)

"

Not for nothing did Edith Sitwell claim that she could not recall being "so deeply, so terribly moved" as when reading this story.

An evocative portrayal of life in depression-era Britain.

" (The Guardian)

"One of the earliest and best novels to call for social change in Britain" (Dazed Digital)

Book Description

'As a novel it stands very high, but it is in its qualities as a "social document" that its great value lies' Times Literary Supplement

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Love on the Dole, published in 1933, was Walter Greenwood's first novel and has never been out of print since. Written on scraps of paper as he tramped the streets looking for work, it has since been made into a film, a play and a musical. Set in Hanky Park, a fictional area of Salford during the depression, the novel was the literary bombshell of its day and the prototype for the 'kitchen sink' school of writing. The gritty realism he depicts of clogged rows of back-to-back houses, pawnshops, gas lights and debt, louse ridden people reveals Greenwoods's burning desire to document the social injustices of the time. He is probably the only English novelist since Dickens who was able to combine true mass appeal with passionate radicalism and bitterly honest documentation with writing of high artistic quality. What makes this book a classic, however, is that simple but elusive art of telling a good story and getting the characters right. The book combines personal documentation and outrage with storylines and situations that belong to the novels of the romantic era. Harry and Sally Hardcastle are growing up in grinding poverty but Sally sees a way out by taking up with local crook Sam Grundy. This beauty and the beast relationship is interwoven with that of Larry Meath, our gallant but doomed hero. Everyone who passes in and out of the storyline, from pawnbrokers to petty officials, are all described in convincing everyday detail and all display universal attitudes and fundamental choices. In Love on the Dole, Walter Greenwood eloquently and amusingly depicts an era that is alien to us today. But in our society of mass consumerism and full supermarket shelves it is too easy to forget that not that long ago people did not even have the means to feed themselves. These injustices should not be forgotten and the book should be required reading for all schoolchildren.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I get the impression that this is one of those novels that could easily catch on again soon in a big way, catching the crest of a wave of social malcontent. It has that kind of feel. Certainly it is very interesting to read in light of the recent financial climate - joblessness, hard times, premonited doom; above all, toil, struggle. Certainly, to be worse off now is probably preferable to being worse off during the time of this novel, but still.

Love on the Dole is a fantastic book. It tells of the struggle of ordinary working class people striving endlessly through life. It has that Dickensian feel of being on the pulse of the normal man in the street, and it also proves that Greenwood (like similar writer's like Patrick Hamilton) is able to write very complex emotions and philisophies in simple ways. The common man expresses himself not eloquently but still beautifully - the constant ruings of fate and the way things are are written i such a way as to strike deep in the stomach. It's a novel of the gut and heart, this. It tells a fantastic story - that of the loves of brother and sister sally and harry hardcastle, through an impossible haze of poverty and worry and constant threat of things getting even worse. It is heartwarming and it is occasionally greatly saddening. It's a rich read.

One of the things that stands out most is the wonderful dislogue: the vernacular is a joy to read, a pure pleasure. it needs careful reading, but it's a great feeling to be able to hear so distinctly the voices of the characters in your head. I recommend this novel very highly indeed. As a novel it's a great story, and it wrenches, and as a slice of British social history I think it's probably invaluable. Excellent.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Bell on 13 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
The book is wonderful and should be read. Unfortunately the Vintage edition omits the epigraphs at the beginning which indicate the novel's revolutionary analysis of society. Students buying this edition need to find an older edition and photocopy the relevant page - or, better still, look for a second-hand Penguin copy instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazoniac TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If anyone tells you how hard their life is you should buy them a copy of this book. It won't make their life any easier, but it will show them how much easier all our lives are since this was written.
My late father - who was a very young man at the time this was written - often use to tell us tales of the dirtiness and deprivation he tried hard all his life to escape, but we thought it was a bit exaggerated.
When you read this you will realise just how far we have come in such a relativity short time, and just how bad things were for certain sectors in our community.
Although the language is sometimes a little difficult for a modern reader to get to grips with, it is well worth that little extra effort. As a social document it is just outstanding, and the vision of the world it presents to us is like something from another universe.
It shows us why we need the NHS and universal education and Health and Safety legislation and many of the other things we have come to take for granted - or even come to look down on - in the modern world.
I wish I had read this sooner, and I hope I will take something from it that will help me walk in the shoes of others a little more, and moan about my train being a few minutes late a little less.
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