Customer Reviews


4 Reviews


3 star
0

2 star
0

1 star
0

 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, cool-eyed account of late-Victorian literary scene, 21 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I find myself wavering about this novel. Half of me thinks it’s only medium good—standard, intelligent, late-Victorian/Edwardian fiction, without Stevenson’s quicksilver eye and prose, or even Arnold Bennett’s dogged lyricism. The other half thinks it’s actually rather powerful in the relentlessness of its vision, and almost brutal, in an interesting way —in particular, with what it does with its not-quite heroine Marian Yule.

<i>New Grub Street</i> opens on a note of literal gallows humor, when we see the young Jasper Milvain winding up his sisters by expressing his liking for reading about executions (“There’s a certain satisfaction in reflecting that it is not oneself.”) Jasper has plenty of opportunities to enjoy this charitable sensation as he pursues his arduous path to literary success. His rise is accompanied on all sides by the spectacle of less “adapted” writers (Darwin is definitely a subtext) descending into poverty, sickness, and despair.

This makes the novel sound depressing, and it should be, with this subject matter. In fact, it’s actually quite an enjoyable read. If I can say this without sounding too disparaging, it has something of a soap opera feel about it, with a fairly broad cast of flattish characters choreographed into satisfying moral and emotional geometries. The setting is very interesting and vividly realized: the half-gentlemanly, half-cutthroat world of journalism and literary publishing in 1880s London, with some details curiously reminiscent of today. The appealing minor character Whelpdale finally makes his career with a vanity school for would-be authors—“novel-writing taught in ten lessons”—and a periodical made up of articles measuring no more than two inches in length, with every inch broken into at least two paragraphs, for readers “incapable of sustained attention.”

Some of the historical detail in the book I found fascinating. There’s a weird account of a morning in a smog-filled interior (“The thick black fog penetrated every corner of the house. It could be smelt and tasted … ”). And I loved it when three characters had dinner in an “à la mode beef shop” —perhaps the 1880s equivalent of St John? Sometimes the pleasure in these details is made up of dramatic irony. In this genre, I particularly enjoyed the reference to “one of the most shocking alleys in the worst part of Islington.”
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Gissing's most memorable novel and still relevant to this day, 23 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New Grub Street (English Library) (Paperback)
My favourite Gissing novel. It is something you can read over and over again. He pretty much captures the literary world of Victorian London in a nutshell. Now I am going try out The Selected Stories of Morley Roberts, which I notice have just been published by Victorian Secrets (June 2015) and promises to be very interesting, as he was Gissing's best friend and wrote a controversial biography about him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Tragedy, 11 Aug. 2014
This review is from: New Grub Street (English Library) (Paperback)
This book was a surprise to me; I wasn't expecting to read it so quickly given the length and seemingly dull plot. But I was thoroughly engaged and even found myself shedding a tear. The characters were masterfully drawn and my feelings and thoughts towards them changed so subtly that I felt enlightened rather than manipulated.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original Ed Reardon's week, 25 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New Grub Street (English Library) (Paperback)
I'd long been a follower of Ed reardon's week. This novel introduces the characters upon which those of the radio4 sitcom are based. It's slightly sentimental & I often felt a desire to grab Edwin by the shoulders to shake some sense of the real world into him, but I thoroughly this antecedent of Patrick Hamilton & Julian MacLaren-Ross.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

New Grub Street (English Library)
New Grub Street (English Library) by George Gissing (Paperback - 24 Jun. 1976)
£9.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews