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4.1 out of 5 stars
Sons and Lovers (Wordsworth Classics)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2011
This is one of those books that I like to re-read every few years, and every time I find something new and wonderful in it. Although inspired by Lawrence's own early experiences, and the chief focus of the novel is the growth of Paul Morel, the viewpoint shifts throughout - so the characters and their relationships are always changing, and are never finally defined. On my most recent reading I was especially moved by the mother, Gertrude, and the sadness of her unfulfilled life.

There are two important deaths in Sons and Lovers: Lawrence writes them starkly and simply and without sentiment. And he shows how grief can almost kill a person.

The setting of the novel is the Nottinghamshire mining village where Lawrence grew up, and you will never read a truer or more vivid account of early 20th century working class life, anywhere.

This Penguin edition of Sons and Lovers has an excellent introduction by Blake Morrison, with some really interesting insights into the drafting and editing, including the input of Jessie Chambers (Miriam in the novel), Lawrence's wife Frieda and editor Edward Garnett.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This was the first Lawrence I ever read and so still reminds me of being 16,reading in the back garden of my parent's home... but even beyond the lovely memories it's still one of my favourites.

Passionate and enthralling, it shows Lawrence's skills at dissecting the relationships that bind men and women, and not just in a sexual sense. This is visceral and emotional, the kind of book that stops you in your tracks and makes you think 'yes, that's how life it'. Wonderful stuff and one of the most autobiographical of Lawrence's novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2013
Perhaps Lawrence's masterpiece, this is one of the best novels I have ever read. Through Paul Morel, we get to see so many aspects of life: family, psychology, love, art and everything in between. Having heard bad things about some of his other works (I'm almost willing to fall out with friends over this!) my expectations were not too high but I can safely say Lawrence far exceeded them. Perhaps what I was least prepared for was for it to be such a touching book. Coming from a coal mining family not too far removed from the Morels, I can see the origins of my own family throughout the book. If you haven't already read the book, please be careful about spoilers from this point on!

Lawrence based the book on his own upbringing and, like many great bildungsromans, one of the central ideas is the protagonist's attempts to go 'into the world'. Unfortunately, this is complicated by his stormy family life, the death of his brother and his borderline suffocating relationship with his mother, Gertrude. Gertrude remains a spectre throughout the novel, becoming closer with Paul until their bond begins to overshadow everything else in his life. She is a sympathetic figure, a portrait of a life sadly wasted, but she also threatens Paul with the same thing. As he enters relationships, first with Miriam, then with Clara, he is never fully able to give himself over, finding his mother still looms over him. There is an obvious psychoanalytic reading here which is definitely present, but this does not do justice to the subtle psychology of the novel, which allows Lawrence to investigate the inner life of Paul and his family while being sensitive but not sentimental. Beyond this skillful approach, Lawrence's prose is beautiful without being excessively flowery, bringing the sadness of the novel to life.

Perhaps the highest praise I can give to Sons and Lovers is that when I read it, I kept wondering if I was reading a Flaubert novel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This is of course the masterwork by one of the great influential writers of the 20th century. It's autobiographical content is not only an explanation of the evolving souls of its characters, the Morel family and those they love, but a brilliant evocation of life in a working-class mining town and the struggle to escape such roots. It's one of those must read texts!

Or rather, in the audio edition, it's become a must-listen text. Paul Slack, a former RSC actor and now the principal voice of Lawrence through his one-man touring production, Phoenix Rising, gives a virtuoso reading performance during which he brings to life the characters in all their rich vernacular and character.

Normally, I'd prefer a book over an audio version unless I wanted something to listen to while driving, but this is such a fine rendering they did add significant value to the original book, particularly as the accent, indeed patois of the mining village is so important to the quality of the novel and its dialogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This was the first Lawrence I ever read and so still reminds me of being 16,reading in the back garden of my parent's home... but even beyond the lovely memories it's still one of my favourites.

Passionate and enthralling, it shows Lawrence's skills at dissecting the relationships that bind men and women, and not just in a sexual sense. This is visceral and emotional, the kind of book that stops you in your tracks and makes you think 'yes, that's how life it'. Wonderful stuff and one of the most autobiographical of Lawrence's novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
For many years DH Lawrence has represented a gap in my reading of literature and finally I decided to correct it. Unfortunately, I only got about half way through before I had to admit I wasn't getting anything out of it. I simply found it dull.

First, although I felt pity for most of the characters, the book didn't inspire me to feel any real interest in any of them or even to like them.

Second, the description of life in a mining family, while no doubt autobiographically accurate, were (for me) pedantic and uninspired and written in poor quality prose.

Please don't think I have a low attention span or lack interest in the subject matter. I found The Road to Nab End fascinating both as a story and for its insight into the hardship faced by the working class a few generations ago. Even How Green Was My Valley, and No Mean City, were just as educational as Sons and Lovers and more interesting to read. I am sorry to disagree with those who acclaim Lawrence as a great writer but I would recommend all of those three in preference to Sons and Lovers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 September 2013
This extraordinary work is finally available in it's complete form. Originally edited and censored by 20% by Edward Garnett to allow publication, we now have Lawrence's original novel exactly as it was intended. A new level of sensuous awareness and some franker emotive moments bring added depth to this semi-autobiographical account of a young man and his relationships with the women in his life - and most significantly his remarkable mother. Previously regatded as one of the greatest novels in the English language, this moving masterpiece is now even richer and more challenging. The authors passion flows through every page - his descriptive powers are at his finest - and he does not fall victim to the florid overwriting of some of his later work. This "new" and definitive edition of "Sons and Lovers" is truly essential reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book is frustrating. It has touches of sheer brilliance lurking among some dreadful repetition and clunky passages. The literary innovations, fresh in the context of its production, have long since become mainstream and this book has not aged well. In that sense it is fairly typical of DHL's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2012
I have read this book before, but I enjoyed it more the second time around. I have lived in Nottinghamshire for most of my life, and as I am over 70 much of what is described rang bells for me.

I love the descriptions of the countryside; fields full of bluebells and primroses, and this reveals the advantages of life in that era as well as the difficulties. It is so interesting to compare life then with life now.

A beautifully written book. The sexual scenes are implied rather than explicit, and I enjoyed this too. Also the deep insight into relationships. Mrs Morel, especially stands out so vividly.

Well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2013
This is my all time favorite Lawrence novel/biography. I know Lawrence's mother was pivotal to the book, and in shaping the person Lawrence became, but it was always his father I felt most empathy and connection with. It was interesting to read, years later, that in his summing up of Son's and lovers, Lawrence admitted that he had portrayed his father in a very harsh light.
Anyone who is new to the works of D.H.L., would be well advised to read this book in order to understand something of the man himself, and the dynamics played out in this family.
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