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Jerusalem the Golden (Penguin Modern Classics) by [Drabble, Margaret]
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Jerusalem the Golden (Penguin Modern Classics) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 224 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description


An extraordinary work (The New York Times)

Like Doris Lessing, that genius of the forcefully "creating" work of fiction, Miss Drabble presents characters who are not passively witnessing their lives (and ours); she is not a writer who reflects the helplessness of the stereotyped "sick society," but one who has taken upon herself the task, largely ignored today, of attempting the active, vital, energetic, mysterious re-creation of a set of values by which human beings can live (Joyce Carol Oates)

Drabble excels at describing the minute detail of human behaviour (Independent)

About the Author

Margaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the daughter of barrister and novelist John F. Drabble, and sister of novelist A.S. Byatt. She is the author of seventeen novels and eight works of non-fiction, including biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. In 1980, Margaret Drabble was made a CBE and in 2008 she was made DBE. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd, and lives in London and Somerset.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 962 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MI7PHQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,258 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jerusalem the Golden is a jewel of a book: it is carried by its magnificent writing, humanity and authority. Clara grows up in a mean-spirited northern England home; her mother is conventional, scathing, embittered and it is only via the grammar school, those wonderful places of freedom and meritocracy (for some) that she escapes to university in London where she makes friends - there is a wonderful description of the chancyness of encounters that broker friendship - with another young woman whose family becomes a revelation to her.

The book is, like many of her novels, inspired by autobiographical elements of Margaret Drabble's own life but she has constructed an imaginative feat that succeeds in being both particular and universal: the possibility for human lives to become blighted or to progress, to seek out their potential "for advancement", for love, for the freedom of the unconventional that becomes wholly right and apposite.

It is a book that might seem to favour female readers, but I think it will be relished by anyone who enjoys great literature, for this is a book that races forward not through the devices of the plotline but through the intrinsic narrative of relationships, ideas, descriptions all composed in the most wonderful, graceful, effortlessly rich style.

The Kindle version works well on both the Kindle and the iPad app.
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By Susannah B (Susie B) TOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Margaret Drabble's wonderful novel `Jerusalem the Golden', was the winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction when it was first published, so I am very pleased to see that some of her earlier novels are being reprinted as Penguin Classics.

The novel centres on Clara Maugham, a young woman in her last year of university, having escaped from her dreary home in the suburban Yorkshire town of Northam. The first part of the story tells us of Clara's lonely childhood and how she has been brought up by an embittered mother who seems, to Clara, to have no purpose in life other than to criticize others and make her life difficult. Clara hates the way her mother looks down on their neighbours, wearily noting that it doesn't matter what one says or does, her mother will always find something reprehensible in it. Clara longs to escape from the depressing influence of her mother and, as the years pass, she begins to realize there is a way out of her tedious life. Clara develops into an attractive and intelligent young woman, who works hard, passes her exams and leaves home to go off to London University to study languages.

In London, at an after theatre drinks party, Clara meets the beautiful and elegant Clelia Denham and she is very keen to start a friendship with her. Clelia is part of a delightful, artistic, bohemian family who own a large and beautiful house in Highgate, full of books, old mirrors, faded Turkish carpets and wonderful eclectic pieces of furniture. Mrs Denham is a writer, Mr Denham a poet and Clelia is an artist.
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Format: Paperback
Written in the 1960s, this is the story of Clara Maugham, the academic daughter of an upper working-class family in northern England. Always aware that there is a better world out there than the ugly town of her birth, and her grim-faced mother, Clara puts all her energies into escape to university.
Once there, the thought of going home for holidays fills her with dread, especially after meeting the fascinating Denham family - writer parents with apparently wonderful offspring - notably her friend, Clelia, and the utterly charming Gabriel...
Does Clara's full-scale adoption of the Denhams' tastes and beliefs show a certain immaturity? Clara even acknowledges to herself 'she had sought the smartly intense, at the expense of the more solid and dowdy virtues.'
But as she grows up and has to gather her strength to make her life what she wants, she realises they were a means of 'self-advancement' - and through her association she has indeed advanced enough not to be held back by others' claims on her.
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By Eleanor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Dec. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
First published in 1967 "Jerusalem the Golden" tells the story of Clara, a student living in London trying to escape a loveless childhood and a monstrous mother. Clara is a compelling character: when we first meet her she seems shy and unsure of herself, but as the novel progresses Drabble reveals more and more until we see her in all her wonderful frightening complexity.

The novel's other focus is the large bohemian Denham family. Clara falls in love with them and their rambling art-filled Highgate home. Their environment is so unfamiliar, intense, and loving that Clara is physically sick after spending time in it. Regarding the fraternal love on display in the home, Drabble writes: "She had read of it in the classics, as she had read of human sacrifices and necrophilia and incest".

I enjoyed every moment of this rich and sometimes disturbing book. Although the novel is very much of its time, the vivid and real depiction of Clara's inner life never feels dated.
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