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The Boat Paperback – 28 Mar 2013

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848548117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848548114
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'English village life is made vivid and recognisable to us by countless delicate strokes of observation' (Lord David Cecil)

'A work of the greatest brilliance and of a memorable humanistic cast' (Manchester Guardian)

Hartley's hilarious (with dark moments) page-turner (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A complex masterpiece of observation. English village life in war-time Britain is brought to life.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It began as quite a comforting read. Stately, accessible prose - considered, mannered even. A gentle story of rural village life. Timothy Casson, our chief protagonist, recently returned from Venice at the onset of World War II, retreats to the Old Rectory and takes on the trappings of the English privileged: servants and a gardener, letter writing, freedom from work or war effort commitments... Oh, and then there's the little matter of the skiff he purchased for the boathouse on the river, for recreational purposes.

The boat, as you can guess, becomes the major issue, meeting with serious objection from the fishing fraternity of ex-colonels and assorted gentry; and the vicar, of course - the whole village stereotype ensemble, if you like. Somehow it becomes a bit of a cause célèbre in the local vicinity. Timothy worries, procrastinates, writes more letters, rebels, regrets, so on and so forth. It all becomes a bit laboured and, ultimately, feels a tad inconsequent. By the end, I'd rather tired of Timmy's about-turns and feeble, ignoble motives.

I will say though that I found the prose of a consistently high standard, if unexceptional. Also, perhaps surprisingly, considering the stuffy, brittle subject matter, there were a number of shrewd social observations and deft, insightful, personal reflections which lifted the novel above the average. For instance:

When considering whether to share an awkward situation with his staff with his recent confidante, the vicar's wife:
" Should he consult her? No, he had already given her too many exhibitions, exhibitionisms, of spiritual nudity; she must be as shy as he was of these immodest displays.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is a subtle (and gentle) comedy about social manners in a small, somewhat isolated English village during the early part of the Second World War. Timothy Casson, a timid & dithering middle-aged bachelor with a private income, arrives and tries to join this coseted, insular world (the location suggests Shropshire). But nearly everyone in the community, high or low, views outsiders with suspicion. This is literature from, and about, a different age. You have to be prepared for a very long read about parochial people who get flustered over what appear such minor things: so much revolves on the niceties of county etiquette. It’s impeccably written, although VERY slow moving, demanding much patience and a familiarity with (& taste for) the pre-modernist English novel c.1910-50.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very gentle book set in a close-knit village in World War II. It deals a lot with class and relationships, rather like a latter-day Jane Austin. I found it a bit dated and slow moving until the final chapters
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