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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!
A joy to read - easy going period piece but surprising captivating! An undemanding yet interesting read - like a nice hug!
Published 10 months ago by Mrs Marcella Marcus

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I couldn't finish this. Stereotyped characters, with the servant class portrayed as loyal dumb animals and rigid class stratification made this a very uneasy read for me. I was not at all engaged by the plot and could not care less what happened to the insufferable characters. This experience was enough to put me off attempting to read any more Angela Thirkell.
Published 18 days ago by E.S.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!, 16 Sep 2013
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This review is from: High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
A joy to read - easy going period piece but surprising captivating! An undemanding yet interesting read - like a nice hug!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gentle humour, 25 July 2009
By 
D. White - See all my reviews
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Whatever Angela Thirkell wrote, she always showed a deft touch, an awareness of the waywardness of human behaviour and at its best, the charity of it, too. You read with a warm sense of meeting a friend and relaxing, sometimes sitting bolt upright to shout with laughter and startle your companions out of their postprandial somnolence.
These reprints are welcome, but I do wish someone would proof read them properly. There are serious setting errors, as though the publishers/printers didn't read English.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A light, high rising, amusing little English soufflé., 3 July 2004
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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It is good to see Angela Thirkell's light novels once more receiving attention. "High Rising" is one of her first novels, dating from 1933. There were many English novelists in the 1930s who mined the traditionally English vein of gentle parody, graceful writing, mild absurdity, and class distinction. Much handsomer than most of them, and exhibiting the influence of Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, Angela Thirkell peopled her novels with descendants of characters found in the latter's Barsetshire novels.
If that gives an idea of the flavour and style that might be enjoyed in her books, I can add that this one chronicles the dizzy doings of Laura Morland, a novelists, who juggles the demands of four sons, her publisher, her secretary, her formidable maid Stoker, and a friend George Knox whom most think should be more than a friend to her. The custom of "coming to tea" sets them all interacting. Watch for the number of verbs Angela Thirkell can employ - from plunge, to insinuate - to describe how characters can enter a room.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite, 6 Feb 2014
By 
T. Bently "tbently" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
The cover mentions Barbara Pym, a comparison which surprised me as High Rising was published in 1933 and I associate Pym with a post-war England of bombed-out churches, rationing and eating half a tin of baked beans for tea. There aren't any vicars in High Rising and not many children or servants in Barbara Pym. They do, I suppose, both portray excellent women.
Laura Morland is a joy. She struggles to keep her family afloat; just her and her youngest son now that her elder boys have left home and her good-looking but useless husband has died. I knew from the first sentence, 'The headmaster's wife twisted herself round in her chair to talk to Mrs Morland, who was sitting in the row just behind her' that this was going to be good. She reminds me of Stella Gibbons or Elizabeth von Arnim and, with her many novels, she has certainly earned her place in the canon of English comedy.
In High Rising, the heroine struggles to free her neighbour George Knox from the clutches of his demented secretary. Her village friends, train-obsessed son and char woman (Stoker, surely a relation of Mrs Pringle in Miss Read's Fairacre chronicles) all make welcome appearances. As another review says, Thirkell's way with words is magnificent. I particularly enjoyed the young couple Sibyl and Adrian 'oozing' out of the French windows into the garden.
High Rising isn't perfect. At times, it seems too much like a comic version of Thirkell's own life. We are told virtually nothing about Mr Morland - why everyone has such a low opinion of him or why Laura married him in the first place. However, the prose is light and as clear as crystal and I look forward to reading more (or all!) of these Barsetshire masterpieces in their new, handsome Virago editions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wodehouse-lite, 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
I've just read this over the Christmas holidays and it was perfect (though it ends in late spring), a real fluffy-robe-and-slippers of a book and I'll happily read more Angela Thirkell when in the mood for light comedy.

Laura Morland, widow and writer, divides her life between a flat in London and a house in High Rising. Returning to the country with her train-mad youngest son one Christmas, she hears of a newcomer to the locale, a Miss Grey, who may just have upset everyone's plans....

It isn't profound or experimental fiction, but it's fun and witty. It's also of its time, so there are some things that even kind Laura says which strike the modern reader as snobbery and racism a la Agatha Christie. Alexander McCall Smith, who writes the introduction to this edition, puts some of Miss Grey's plight into context, but while her situation may be pitiable, her conduct is not, and would be condemned regardless of her position.

Finally, I've read lots of complaints about the amount of mistakes and lack of proof-reading, but my edition of the paperback with the pretty cover was fine.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming light tale in pre-WWII England, 29 Dec 2012
By 
Carol C. Stone (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
In this early novel by Angela Thirkell, Mrs. Thirkell's verbal brilliance is expertly displayed. Her acid-edged pen writes smoothly but with such sharpness that the preposterous seems normal and the exaggerated absurdities of village life (a truly astonishing selection of characters) leave the reader not only enchanted but sometimes almost weak with laughter. A re-issue of a delicious work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST IN THE SERIES, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) (Paperback)
This is the first book in the series of novels by Angela Thirkell. It is interesting to read books by a past author as they have a great deal to offer historically, Good selection of characters and well blended storylines. I have also read the selection of short stories 'Christmas at High Rising' which is a good introduction to this series. I love the cover designs of these two books, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyous - well done Virago!, 18 Jan 2014
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Witty, entertaining and far cleverer than it pretends - a joyous read.

Perfect for reading on a rotten wintery afternoon, or on the way to work - although you might chuckle out loud on the train.

Lovely to see Virago reprinting many of Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels. I'm not sure how they are choosing which ones to reprint, but it's all good news. Cheerfulness Breaks In and Before Lunch would be great too please if any of the Virago team read this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real find, 14 Jan 2013
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Thought this book was out of print and was delighted to find it. By modern standards very formal but still a brilliant tongue in cheek look at life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Delight, 14 Jan 2014
By 
C. E. Utley "Charles Utley" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I am so pleased to have found this glorious book. How refreshing it is to stumble across a gentle, witty novel like this one. Some may say it is dated (and it is obviously set in a bygone age), but I would say it has stood the test of time. The characters are all beautifully drawn. The soupy young couple, desperately in love (Coates and Sybil) are perfect. George Knox, the important author whose oral sentences (though not, we gather, those he writes) are so extraordinarily convoluted. Mrs Morland, the highly successful second-rate author who has somehow to cope with all her weird neighbours. Stoker, Mrs Morland's outspoken servant. But, for me, the top character has to be Tony Morland, the enormously loquacious prep-school son of Mrs Morland.

Not a great deal happens, but it is all so splendidly readable. I am longing to read more of her novels.

Charles
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High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC)
High Rising: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC) by Angela Thirkell (Paperback - 22 Nov 2012)
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