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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page Paperback – 24 Jun 1982

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Paperback, 24 Jun 1982

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (24 Jun. 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140058982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140058987
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.3 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,086,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

G. B. Edwards (1899—1976) was born on the British Island of Guernsey. A professor of drama and literature at Toynbee Hall, his friends included Middleton Murray, J.S. Collis, and Stephen Potter. Though full of promise, he published only a handful of articles. Encouraged by Edward Chaney to create a trilogy of novels on island life, he completed only one, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page.

John Fowles (1926—2005) was born in Leigh-on-Sea, in the south-east of England, and educated at Oxford. His best-known novels are The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Magus. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Ebenezer's book is the fictional autobiography of a stubborn Guernseyman, his friends and family and his compulsive love for his tormentor, the enigmatic Liza Queripel.
Driven to find a worthy recipient for his hoarded legacy of a cache of golden crowns, his story take us vividly to Guernsey and its people over the century, including the effects of occupation in WW2. Fluctuating from tragic to comic, despairing to joyful, it is always enthralling with its attention to the detail that breathes life into the characters and make us feel for this strange yet principled man, his loyalties and yearning for the past and the eventual unlikely relationship which finally fulfils him and gives him hope for the future.
The story meanders, often in an uncoordinated random way, picking up threads from long ago, weaving them minutely for a while and gently dropping them back down again, utterly captivating from beginning to end.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Just William on 2 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Ebenezer Le Page is a Guernsey man, a donkey, as the Jersey islanders would call him and as stubborn as that animal in many ways. His is an uncompromising voice and from the first page it is a voice which is utterly convincing. Speaking in the Anglo-French patois of the island the novel comes to us from three notebooks he has purchased from the local post office and which he has filled with his life. Edwards achievement is total; as you read you have to remind yourself that the notebooks aren't real, he isn't actually writing this in his home at Les Moulins. Take this paragraph:

"I thought a lot of myself when I was a young chap. I wasn't bad looking for a Guernsey boy. I was dark with a round museau of a face and thick lips, and a pug nose and high cheekbones and deep-set brown eyes and a bush of black hair. I haven't got much of that black hair left now, and what there is of it is white. I've still got got enough teeth to eat with and I can hear all right and have never had to put spectacles on my nose, though I have to look through a magnifying glass to read the Births, Deaths and Marriages in the Press, and I write big in this book so as to be able to see what I'm saying. I didn't grow very tall and wished I was taller: but I had broad shoulders and a good chest which I used to go round with stuck out like a pigeon. I was given fine strong legs, but they was a trifle bandy even then, and have got bandier and bandier the older I've got. I wish now I could straighten them out a bit; but I can still get along on them all right. With a stick."

What this shows is how skillfully Edwards describes to us not only the man now but the man back then too and crucially how the physical deterioration has done nothing to dim the spirit.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dr. M. Andrew on 7 July 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an unusual, gentle yet powerful novel about an eccentic individual who is uncompromising and true to his Guernsey heritage
It is one of the most beautifully understated and interesting novels that I have enjoyed in recent years. Rather than just reading his life story one finds oneself living the life of ebenezer from his birth to his old age and understanding his development of wisdom about people, his island, the occupation of the island during World War Two and also love. One finishes with a deep sense of fulfilment, yet bitter-sweet sadness which I found profoundly moving.
It is a wonder that nobody I know has heard of this post-humously published book but it is one of the gems of twentieth century english novels as far as this reviewer is concerned and I recommend it strongly to those who are looking for an enjoyable tale to alter their perception of life and living
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Emma Louise on 19 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is a real treaure - one of the best books I have ever read. It deserves to be widely known and hailed as a classic of 20th century.
The premise is, on the surface, not specially promising: an 80-year old man looks back on his life, which he has spent entirely on the island of Guernsey. But Ebenezer's story takes us to the very root of what it is to be human, what it is to love, suffer, enjoy simple pleasures, endure disappointments and loss, and all the while, retain the utmost dignity and humanity.
Ebenezer chronicles his life through the 2 world wars, the German occupation of Guernsey, and beyond. He watches, half amused, half sad, but without any self-pity, as the world around him changes, never for the better. His voice is utterly compelling, wickedly funny and truthful as he describes all the pretensions and absurdities of the people and situations he sees around him, and all the tragedies and the joys of life.
I urge you to read this book -it is heartbreakingly beautiful and you will never forget it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lihou on 16 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
G B Edwards spent much of his life away from the island of Guernsey which speaks volumes for his ability to capture so accurately the period and parlance of the local community.

His writing style and perspective draw the reader into what was then a remote world; not quite English, but not quite French. As a local author myself, I would love to have Edwards' character depiction and wry humour. To those of you who may be far afield, I can tell you the book is revered locally as a classic and our community can be quite critical of those who attempt to portray life on our islands and do so badly!

Ebenezer is, of course, a fine literary work ranking amongst the best published by authors of the 20th century, it is also an important historical work as although fictional, the events affecting this island are accurately portrayed. Especially the period of German Occupation during World War 2.

Having grown up here (I'm writing this in St Peter Port), I very much enjoyed the references to places long since dropped from everyday use and have to admit to the embarrassment of not even knowing one or two of the places despite my family roots going back as far as parish records began here!

Recently, of course, another story about our island has been very much in the headlines.The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Inevitably comparisons will be drawn but there should be none, the books are quite different and appeal to different senses. I would encourage you to read both for different reasons and with different expectations. Chilled, dry Chardonnay is excellent with lunch on a summer's day but give me a full bodied red wine with dinner.

I wholeheartedly recommend Ebenezer Le Page to you, with dinner rather than lunch!
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