The Darling Buds of May Paperback – 30 Nov 2006
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About the Author
H. E. Bates was born in 1905 in Northamptonshire. He worked as a journalist and clerk on a local newspaper before publishing his first book, The Two Sisters, when he was twenty. In the next fifteen years he acquired a distinguished reputation for his stories about English country life. During the Second World War he was a Squadron Leader in the R.A.F. The Darling Buds of May, the first of the popular Larkin family novels, was followed by A Breath of French Air (1959), When the Green Woods Laugh (1960), Oh! To Be in England (1963). His works have been translated into sixteen languages. H. E. Bates was awarded the C.B.E. in 1973 and died in January 1974.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is one of the most enjoyable books of pure escapism, I think I have ever read.
The Larkins are a joy. The TV series was brilliant but the books, I feel, are on an even higher plain.
This is the first of the Larkin tales,where Mr Charlton from the Inland Revenue pays the Larkins a visit but falls in love (with the way of life, the countryside & of course, Mariette) & never leaves (& to be fair why would he ?)
My top tip - buy every Larkin book you can get your hands on & indeed, the DVD of the TV series (if you can get hold of a copy of the complete "Pop Larkin Chronicles",in effect an omnibus of all the Larkin tales,prepare for late nights & cessation of discussion with family members, as you plough throgh the lot !) - this book,as with them all, is a real treat.
Thus, this is a very enjoyable book (5 star) at a very difficult price.
I am a female university researcher in the 18-24 age bracket. I bought this book looking for feel-good, slightly funny British home fiction. I found it very satisfying, and actually much funnier than I thought it would be!
I particularly loved the relationships between the Larkin family, and the way that Ma and Pop are so lovingly portrayed as being wonderful, joyful people. Popular media would demonize, mock and humiliate them for being fat, working-class, erratically employed,"tasteless," enamored of their TV, with an unfashionable amount of children. Any single one of these traits in a fictional character is usually an immediate signal that they are the "bad guy," the butt of the joke, the ugly ones, the slobs, the welfare cheats and scum of society, etc, etc.
Instead, the Larkins - and everyone who falls into their orbit, including the reader - are absolutely convinced that they live the happiest lives on earth. They are warm and funny and welcoming and completely unshakable. They admire education, the beauties of nature, the pleasures of sex and the joy of food. They're nourishing.
I loved that. I loved that when Ma tells Pop that their unwed teenage daughter is expecting a baby (occurs in the first few pages) his reaction is happiness and delight at the prospect of another child in the home. I love that Ma is described as being fat and remarkably beautiful, and that I love it's obvious that Pop can't get enough of her. They are the opposite of the typical snapping, snide, awful sitcom family (where an improbably beautiful woman is paired with a boorish slob of a husband and everyone hates each other) and they are infinitely funnier and better for it.
I would recommend it widely and highly.
I have never enjoyed Guinness and port so much as during and after reading this!
Lovely storylines and so readable (all over in an evening or two). Pity there are only 5 books in this series. Always prefer the books to the 'screen'.
Looking forward to the rest of the Darling Buds books (ordered).
This is the first in the 'Larkin saga'. We meet some key characters: Pop Larkin; Ma; Charley; Mariette and the story begins with Charley coming to do a tax inspection. He quickly gets thrown off course by Pop and is persuaded to stay the night. Quickly he falls in love with Mariette and gets drawn into all the money-making schemes, including strawberry picking (which was one of the funniest moments!). The story ends with a gymkhana (Mariette is wild about horses) and Charley asks her to marry him.
It lost a star because part of me wonders whether I would have enjoyed it so much if it wasn't for the TV programme. It helped me visualise a lot of the characters. Also, why does Pop go around kissing people on the lips all the time???
All in all, it's a nice, comforting read, which I would highly recommend. I have already ordered the next one ('A Breath of French Air') and am really looking forward to it arriving.
NB: The order of the books is: 'The Darling Buds of May'; 'A Breath of French Air'; 'When the Green Woods Laugh'; 'Oh! To be in England; and 'A Little of What You Fancy'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful, totally non-PC escapism. Can't wait to read more of the series. Wouldn't it be great to be able to share that world, just for a moment?Published 2 months ago by Philip Whiteland
happy stories of a lost world.Maybe the world was never like this but it should have beenPublished 4 months ago by GEORGE B YOUNG