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Party Going [Hardcover]

Henry Green
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Viking Press; First Edition edition (1951)
  • ISBN-10: 0670541133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670541133
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,184,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover an author who will change your life ! 13 Oct 2000
Green was considered the best of his generation: his writing is approachable but not obvious, his insight is unique and revealing...; he's Hardy without the Definite Article. Try him (...a small price to change your view of literature forever), and I'd be interested in your views: anyone for a Green revival?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Going, Not Going 31 Jan 2012
A sharply witty dissection of class attitudes, the selfishness of the idle rich, and the apparent deterioration of values, Henry Green's 'Party Going' is one of the most biting and enjoyable texts to come out of 20th century Britain in the period preceding World War II. 'Party Going' focuses on a party waiting to take the train to begin their journey to Calais, to holiday in France. The trains are delayed due to fog, and stuck at the station, the party begin to show their true selves - a swathe of selfishness, class snobbery (amongst the upper class), and a mixture of honest values and unpleasant, bawdy lust amongst their 'help'. Green's novel evokes character very successfully, though sometimes the novel's intense cynicism has the unfortunate effect of making too many characters seem merely symbols for unpleasant selfishness, and elsewhere, Green's supposed heroine, Angela, is harder to like or empathise with, than Green appears to intend to make her.

The narrative is an interesting one - a mixture of humorous and serious sub-plots built around the main plot, with characters coming and going from the scene, all the while with the poorer citizens in the station being looked down on else patronised, by Max Adie's snobby party, above. Occasionally the station can seem a bit confining for the narrative, and whilst the claustrophobic location works as a metaphor for the stasis of Britain's upper class, and the feeling of society as a whole being somewhat trapped; it does mean the Novel feels a little narrow and, even dull, in a few places. On the whole though, 'Party Going' is a witty novel, that is both fun, and effectively frustrating; even if it sometimes seems a little one-sided, and squashed in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Empty Vessels...........Party Going-Henry Green 27 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Communication is the activity of conveying information, deriving from the Latin word "Communis" meaning to share, this requires a sender, a message and an intended recipient. Effective communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality, and this process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender. Feedback is critical to effective communication between parties. Now although the characters here share "an area of communicative commonality" they are all of a similar social standing, share the same codes of behaviour etc., yet there is something failing, they have the same coding apparatus, but the wrong keys.

Which takes me to my heading, Empty Vessels, this is the old adage "that empty vessels make the most noise" and by this I mean that although a lot is said, these are characters that abhor a silence, nothing is really said, it's as though you have three or four people occupying a room and shouting into the void, then waiting for the echo. Whilst researching for this post I found this quote, which I found made sense

"Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries except Samuel Beckett, Green exploits the trivia and minutiae of life. His characters react to life in terms of basic needs, the most basic of which is how to relieve boredom or dispel loneliness. The need for conversation, the need to verbalize, is of course attached to one's desire to avoid tedium; and Green's characters frequently talk not for the sake of communicating particular ideas but rather to occupy themselves...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Julia's charms 16 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Henry Green has a very subtle way with language - quite relaxed and sometimes eccentric, but always understated and unshowy. His other novels are all one word titles which are usually ambiguous: Blindness, Caught, Loving, Nothing, etc.
Party Going is set in the early 1930s and concerns a group of rich, dissolute but socially respectable people, invited by their richer acquaintance, Max Adey, to take the boat train for the continent for a week's holiday at his expense. Unfortunately, fog has come down in a thick cloud and no trains can leave the station. Max takes a couple of suites in the station's hotel for the duration of his party's wait for the fog to lift.

The station gradually becomes besieged by a vast crowd of ordinary people trying to make their way home who mass on the station concourse and in the cafés and bars and occasionally impinge on their `betters' by having a sing-song or chanting for trains by way of voicing unrest at the delay.

The novel is acutely observant of class and status. Most fascinating is the way Max behaves towards his current amour - Amabel - who is a household name, feted for her beauty, but he may be growing tired of her as he had not invited her on this voyage. In fact he has designs on a rather more upper-class beauty, Julia. Amabel, intensely manipulative as she is, simply turns up with her luggage, but not before Max has moved in on Julia with an inconclusive result. Julia, rather endearingly, is more concerned that her "charms" may not have been packed in her luggage. These are trifles such as a small porcelain egg containing three tiny ivory elephants, a child's miniature spinning top, etc. Without them Julia feels something may go wrong, not just for her but for her travelling companions too.
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