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The Hopkins Manuscript Paperback – 22 Jun 2005

12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd (22 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903155487
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903155486
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 3.5 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 733,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lou Dudley on 4 April 2008
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book which, despite being 70 years old, and at times almost quaint to our jaded perceptions, The Hopkins Manuscript still manages to carry a real sense of imminent and terrifying doom. Hopkins himself grows in stature throughout the course of the book, developing from a self-important, narrow individual into a much more profound character in every way, in contrast to his compatriots' myopic and ignorant self-absorption. Is this book only bleakly reflective on mankind's selfishness, or is it infused with hope, as exemplified by our hero's personal growth? The reader must decide. It provides, however, a startlingly contemporary critique on our urgent need to look beyond our own comfort zone and take decisive action if our planet is not to be irremediably damaged.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca West on 4 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Mr Hopkins is the archetypal 'little man', in fact he is at first glance rather petty and trivial, interested in nothing but his bantam chickens and the absurd snobberies of his Hampshire village. Then he happens to be one of the first to discover that the moon has veered off course and in a few months time, in 1946, will crash into the earth; and during the months leading up to this catastrophe he turns out to be rather admirable. I don't usually like science fiction, but this is a wonderfully written novel by the hugely-acclaimed author of Journey's End and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone, whether or not they are obsessed with climate change (Persephone has apparently republished it to make us think about the possible effects of global warming, one of which could be something just as cataclysmic as the earth colliding with the moon). A gripping read, and a very unusual one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynette Baines VINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Edgar Hopkins is a fussy little man obsessed with his bantams and his own importance. When he discovers that the Moon is going to collide with the Earth, his life, and the life of everyone on the planet will be transformed. I was astonished at the narrative power of this book. I don't read science fiction or futuristic fiction, but the few books in this genre that I have read and enjoyed have been similar in theme to this one. Day of the Triffids, Handmaid's Tale, books rooted in the everyday world but with a crucial difference. Nature or our own folly is going to cause catastrophe and it's how people deal with this that fascinates me. Psychologically this book is so accurate. Hopkins reacts as we all would if told the world was coming to an end. Disbelief until all the evidence could point to no other conclusion. The Hopkins Manuscript is believable, and scary, because Sherriff keeps us absorbed in the everyday details of life before and after the catastrophe. The different ways people cope, or fail to cope, with the new world which emerges after the Moon hits the Earth, but life goes on, which is harder to cope with than instant oblivion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE on 8 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Sheriff was an accomplished playwright, celebrated for his 1928 play Journey's End which detailed life in the trenches during WWI. Journey's End built on his own experiences - he was wounded at Passchendaele. I'd never heard of him before reading this book, although I had vaguely heard of Journey's End. Reading his wiki biography, I found he was also a prolific writer of screenplays including Goodbye Mr Chips (1933) and The Dambusters. Alongside his theatre and film careers, he found time to write some novels too; The Hopkins Manuscript was his third, published in 1939 and I loved it. It also turned out to be another quintessentially Persephone kind of book.

The story concerns the manuscript of Edgar Hopkins, written some years after the cataclysm that occurred back in May 1946 when the moon fell into the Earth. It is the only surviving account of daily life in the months leading up to, and after the disaster. Edgar is a retired schoolmaster (but still only in his late forties), who lives on the Sussex downs. He amuses himself by breeding prize-winning chickens, clipping his yew hedges and going up to London to meetings of the Lunar Society every month.

The moon has been looking different lately, and at the September 1945 meeting of the society, the chairman has some top secret information to impart to the privileged and esteemed members - the moon is falling towards the earth and they mustn't tell anyone. Hopkins, who is a rather self-important fellow, is shocked and pleased in equal measure. He feels it his duty to carry on life as normal, but ere long it becomes obvious even to the man in the street, that the moon is getting nearer and the Government lifts the embargo on the press.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookelephant on 28 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Tragedy does not just happen to the young and beautiful or to the worthy, and one of the strengths of this book is the way in which it introduces you to the really rather laughable Mr Hopkins, obsessed with his hens and his own importance, and carries you with him on his journey towards the end of civilisation. And the truth is that the tragedy is actually that much more forcible when it happens to a normal, faulty person (like us?) than to some noble hero. Hopkins, with his limited resources, somehow faces up to the end of his world and works frantically to be a part of the attempts to rebuid a new one. And ultimately we appreciate that his very limited agenda is rather more loveable and worthy than those of many cleverer and more capable people. Bizarrely the little man becomes a hero - and I defy you not to grieve for him at the end! The book is also notable for the wonderfully eccentric version of the end of the world which Sherrif choses, the sense of foreboding which he manages to convey despite the scientific absurdity of the catastrophe, and the lovely portrait of an English village facing up to the worst in a supremely English way.
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