1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Confused? You will be...,
This review is from: England, My England (Kindle Edition)
I don't really know where to start with this review. Which doesn't really matter as Mr Lawrence doesn't seem to know how to end these 'short stories'.
They aren't badly written stories and move along quite nicely but then just stop. That's it.
For example 'Monkey Nuts' about the comely maiden Miss Stokes who flirts with Joe who is a sort of labourer at the railway station. He doesn't fancy her (we aren't told why - she is an attractive girl) even though his more worldly wise pal Albert tries to encourage him. So what happens next, we wait in anticipation as we turn the page... Nothing. She just gives up, goes away again and Joe is 'relieved'.
Even worse is the story 'Wintry Peacock'. A woman finds a letter (written in French) to her ex-soldier husband who has recently returned from the war. She asks a passing stranger if he can translate it for her. He realises it is from the soldier's lover in Belgium who is distraught that he has returned to England, she also writes that she has had his baby. The stranger decides that he can't tell the woman this, so makes out the letter is just from a friend her husband met during the war and is just bit of trivial gossip. The woman seems to guess the truth, though. A promising start to an interesting short story, you might think. What happens next? Does the lady from Belgium turn up with the baby in her arms? Does the soldier's wife find out the truth? No. The soldier ends up meeting the stranger, who tells him what was in the letter. They laugh about it. The end. And don't ask what the business with Joey the Peacock was about.
Maybe I am missing the point and someone can enlighten me. I know Lawrence's work is of a different era and of a different style to modern fiction, but a story still needs a 'proper' ending in my opininion. These stories just left me feeling a bit empty.
It's a free download on Kindle so no harm done, I just expected more.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Jun 2013 15:14:27 BDT
Giles Penfold says:
The phenomenon you describe is intended - and often does - precisely work to deprive us of the conventionally satisfying ending which wraps up everything nicely and neatly. DHL, and many other writers since (eg Carver) want to take away that comfort and replace it with the feeling we get in real life: uncertainly and ambiguity. I hope you are not put off DHL - please read 'Women in Love' for an amazing aesthetic experience.
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2013 20:39:56 BDT
S Edmondson says:
Thanks for your comment, I'll put the book on my 'to read' list.
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2013 22:21:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jun 2013 22:23:18 BDT
Giles Penfold says:
Lawrence was regarded as either mad or stupid by many of his distinguished contemporaries. T S Eliot said that he was a man 'incapable of what is ordinarily called thinking' and his essays and travel books are full of mystical hogwash, as are the final three novels - the so-called 'leadership novels' - which advocate a semi-sexualized non-bullying authoritarian state [sic] with someone like Lawrence in charge. The result is that his writing is unusual for a literary 'great' - it has both masterpieces, and utter gibberish. Don't let the latter put you off the former, which is astonishing. Happy reading.
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