Half of the Human Race Hardcover – 3 Feb 2011
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`By jove, it's a corker' --Tatler, January 11, 2011
'Not only is Connie Callaway, one of his two principals, part of the sisterhood of the Suffragette movement, the other, Will Maitland, is a championship cricketer who operates in an all-male sporting environment. To portray two such gender-specific worlds equally convincingly is a tall order, but Quinn carries it off with aplomb. His impeccable eye for detail, perfect pitch for the nuances of dialogue, and the quiet, understated passion that enlivens his writing - all seen to good effect in his debut novel The Rescue Man - combine here to make his considerable achievement seem effortless... There are also vivid descriptions of women's prisons, of the trenches of the First World War, of the sweeping-away of the complacency of the Edwardian age. Quinn's grasp of history is acute, but it is his ambition - and his ability to deliver on it - that impresses most. The Rescue Man won prizes. Half of the Human Race should follow in its footsteps and establish its author as one of our most impressive novelists' --Independent,
'His integration of the historical background into the lives of his protagonists (the suffrage movement, Edwardian professional cricket, the experience of the trenches) is admirably done, with everything stitched into a seamless tapestry. The rhythm of rejection and understanding in Connie and Will's relationship is mapped out with care and precision. The permutations between them and sad, lonely Tam are explored with such exemplary meticulousness that you can't help but be touched' --The Sunday Times,
'This is only Anthony Quinn's second novel, but you would never guess it from the expert way he marshals his material, telling a human story in a literate, intelligent way... If the cricket scenes bring a nostalgic smile to the face, the real guts of the book can be found in the character of Connie. She is sprightly, impulsive, independent-minded... Her passion for justice never stifles her capacity for intellectual self-doubt and emotional tenderness. You really care what happens to her. Half of the Human Race is not just an exhilarating love story, bur a thoughtful, well-crafted novel that can be recommended to lovers of cricket, smoking or Jane Austen - not necessarily in that order' --Daily Telegraph,
'Half of the Human Race is the sort of novel one presses on a friend in a spirit of happy envy, confident of the fictional treat that lies ahead of them' --Evening Standard,
`Captivating, thought-provoking and compelling.' --Easy Living
`This beautifully constructed novel imagines a romance between a cricketer and a suffragette.' --The Observer
`Both as a historical novel and as the story of a love affair Half of the Human Race is a credible and compelling book.'
`Male authors do not always succeed with novels in which the central character is a woman, but Anthony Quinn has portrayed Connie in subtle shades. He is equally convincing with his male character'
`This is a moving and compelling novel that has the potential to become a successful film.'
`excellent and surprising book.'
`A wonderfully rich sense of time and place is evoked.'
`Quinn's subtle historical scene-setting is painterly but never clich�éd.'
`The final section of the book covers the war years and it is here that the writing really gathers pace, with Quinn hitting his stride in some truly heart-stopping battle scenes.'
`The oft-described horror of trench warfare is envisioned with a fresh eye and a keen ear for the many different voices thrown together in a fighting company, and at times it is possible to forget that this is fiction rather than a first-hand account.'
`A thoroughly absorbing and moving novel and it is testament to the author's adaptability and energy'
--The Sunday Times
`Few books boast a suffragette heroine and a professional cricket hero but Anthony Quinn's second novel pulls off such a strange pairing because it is old-fashioned in a very good way... Quinn memorably foregrounds the humanity of the characters... in his novel's historical sweep and tells their stories wonderfully' --Metro
`... powerful and touching. In Connie, Quinn has created a compelling heroine' --Guardian Review
`What lights up Half of the Human Race is not only the Suffragist movement in all its glory and lunacy, but Quinn's affection for his cast'
`So often, historical fiction relies on research for its colour and depth of interest, but these are people who feel absorbingly real in their misunderstandings, jokes, troubles and passions.'
`It would make a compelling film, but is an even more satisfying novel' --The Daily Telegraph
'Trench warfare is vividly described: the agonizing wait for dawn, the despairing bravery of those going `over the top', the futility, the waste, the sadness. Anthony Quinn tells this part of his tale faultlessly, and without a clich�é. Quinn writes about cricket with an insider's authority, amanaging o retain the interest of readers less familiar with it by his deft use of cricket's idiosyncratic vocabulary, which bestows a poetic charm on his style' --The Tablet
'A highly readable book about love, loyalty and integrity' --Daily Mail
'Enthralling... in effortlessly fluent prose, Quinn keeps you riveted until the very end' --Mail on Sunday
'with crisp prose and evocative description, Anthony Quinn's second novel embodies early 20th century Britain with aplomb and exhumes a political plight that still has great relevance' --Eastern Daily Press
'Not just an exhilarating love story... a bold, impressive novel' --Waitrose Weekend
`The Suffragette movement and pre-war country cricket might seem an odd couple for a novel but Anthony Quinn marries them perfectly in a nostalgic and compelling tale whose themes of love and friendship on and off the pitch will appeal to lovers of romance and cricket alike.' --The Cricketer
`I'm attempting to write my own novel about this era, and so I'm very curious to see how Quinn (a terrific film and fiction critic) manages to dramatise it. I'm only on chapter three, and already I'm picking up tips fast!' --Daily Telegraph
A captivating and engrossing new novel on the Suffragette movement, county cricket and the First World War by the prize-winning Anthony Quinn.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is set in that fascinating period of British history from the end of Queen Victoria's long reign to the Great War. It's no surprise that this is an attractive period for writers as this was an age of such contrasts and emerging political and social change. It was a period of that British idyl of the idle rich having the freedom to not grow up, until of course the outbreak of war when those that survived had to grow up fast, while so many never got the chance. It was also a period of ideas, not least among them the key theme running through this book of the issue of the suffragette movement and the opportunities for women to be more than homemakers. Constance is an educated young woman but her nascent career in medicine has been cut short when the family falls on hard times and all the available funds are diverted to her brother's education. On a family holiday she meets for the first time the young cricketer, Will, but their mutual attraction initially founders due to Will's traditional views that a woman should be seen and not heard.
I've mentioned the cricket theme a number of times already and I confess that as a cricket-lover, there's no doubt that enhanced my enjoyment of the book. However, aware that probably more than `half of the human race' do not share this passion, it's fair to point out that there is no need to share this cricketing enthusiasm.Read more ›
At the heart of 'Half of the Human Race' is a compelling 'will they - won't they' Austen style English romance, which takes place from the end of Queen Victoria's reign through to the first world war - which not only blighted human life but changed the role of women in society.
Will Maitland, a rising county cricket star; a man of traditional means and patriarchal opinions meets Constance Calloway; an unwavering suffragette, would-be surgeon working in a book shop. The author tells his excellent tale from the point of view of both protagonists, portraying their gender specific worlds equally.
His significant other characters are engaging and well drawn; especially Will's hero, a legendary batsman and Connie's friend, a Bohemian artist. Descriptions throughout the book are vivid and true, from the horrors of Holloway to the terror of the trenches. Quinn also covers the misunderstandings of mental illness during that period; highlighting the fact that failure and suicide issues are not a 'modern' medical disorder.
The entire novel is well crafted, thoroughly researched and detailed in development. The prose is elegant and the pace a perfect pitch. If Anthony Quinn holds a tight rein on his novel, it would make a wonderful British film.
Highly recommended (even if you don't like cricket!).
I did have one or two misgivings as I read the book, not least being bowling along at great pace and then suddenly being faced with, `Part Two', at which my heart dropped. However, I need not have worried, the book quickly gathered pace and interest once again and `Part Three' gave me no worries at all. Some themes may appear at first glance a little over familiar but, fear not, Quinn handles them very well and manages to avoid cliché.
I cannot praise the technical qualities of Quinn's writing too highly, he is a master of dialogue, at setting a scene clearly without lengthy description, at variations in pace and tension, and at portraying the feelings of both men and women in a highly credible manner. I also like the author's habit of providing a clear topography in which his characters live and work.
A first rate book and a gripping read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved this. I found it a bit of a slow burner, but it was increasingly absorbing and by the half way mark I could not put this down. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
Excellent. Suffragettes, love stories and cricket. A lovely take on 1940s BritainPublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Cricket, Suffragists, The Battle of the Somme, the English inability to express deep emotions : all this and more is to be found in "Half of the Human Race" by Anthony... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I haven't enjoyed a book so much for ages. I couldn't put it down and it was very well writtenPublished 9 months ago by vanessa Cundy-Cooper
A great book. It came quickly in the mail and was well packaged. I bought it as part of a book club which has had some hits and misses, and so I was dubious as I thought (judging... Read morePublished 10 months ago by E. P.
A very well researched, sympathetic and interesting insight into the suffragette movement; and an intriguing sub-plot which explores the unusually high frequency of suicide amongst... Read morePublished 10 months ago by peter harrison
I enjoyed the history content of this book, the suffragets and the cricket detail. I thought Will a weak character and irritating, but he was the character required to put it... Read morePublished 13 months ago by mrs.winifred roberts
Engaging and educational....certainly increased my awareness of what those women dealt with.. I will certainly read others and find out more about these amazing ladiesPublished 15 months ago by Ann F.
Only read because it was a book club choice . Incredibly boring and is very Mills and BoonPublished 16 months ago by Love Shopping