The Boat Paperback – 28 Mar 2013
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'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)
A complex masterpiece of observation. English village life in war-time Britain is brought to life.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›