Living (Vintage classics) Paperback – 7 Sep 2000
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""Loving" stands, together with "Living," as the masterpiece of this disciplined, poetic and grimly realistic, witty and melancholy, amorous and austere voluptuary--comic, richly entertaining--haunting and poetic--writer." - "TLS" "Green's works live with ever-brightening intensity--it's like dancing with Nijinsky or Astaire, who lead you effortlessly on." - "The Wall Street Journal" "Green's novels-- have become, with time, photographs of a vanished England--Green's human qualities - his love of work and laughter; his absolute empathy; his sense of splendour amid loss - make him a precious witness to any age." - John Updike "Green's books are solid and glittering as gems." - Anthony Burgess
"Heartbreaking, funny and written with such luminous prose - he's the most brilliant, and neglected, of English writers"
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
'Then, one morning in iron foundry, Arthur Jones began singing. He did not often sing. When he began the men looked up from work and at each other and stayed quiet. In machine shop, which was next iron foundry, they said it was Arthur singing and stayed quiet also. He sang all morning.
He was Welsh and he sang in Welsh. His voice had a great soft yell in it. It rose and fell and then rose again and, when the crane was quiet for a moment, then his voice came out from behind noise of crane in passionate singing. Soon each one in this factory heard that Arthur had begun and, if he had 2 moments, came by iron foundry shop to listen. So all through that morning, as he went on, was a little group of men standing by door in the machine shop, always different men. His singing made them all sad. Everything in iron foundries is black with burnt sand and here was his silver voice yelling like bells. The black grimed men bent over their black boxes....
Everyone looked forward to Arthur's singing, each one was glad when he sang, only, this morning, Jim Dale had bitterness inside him like girders and when Arthur began singing his music was like acid to that man and it was like that girder was being melted and bitterness and anger decrystallised, up rising in him till he was full and would have broken out - when he put on his coat and walked off and went into town and drank....
Still Arthur sang and it might be months before he sang again. And no one else sang that day, but all listened to his singing. That night son had been born to him.'
Weird but beautiful I think and I could quote passage after passage. I can't understand why everyone doesn't feel the same.
Just gorgeous to curl up with on rainy Summer evenings.
The result is like reading a text set down in dialect, or, in a strange way, Chaucer in the original. The experience is closer to absorbing the spoken word, to hearing talking rather than to reading writing, to the nature of 'parole' (direct speech) rather than 'ecriture' (written prose).
Should this be counted as experimental modernism? Maybe not. Whatever, the novel stresses voice in a manner not often encountered in English literature (Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners might be a point of comparison).
Do read it; do savour it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My comments and rating are not on the content of the book but on the edition.
The Vintage paperback edition is very poor quality - it is printed on cheap, thin paper and... Read more
Henry Green is a wonderful writer but this work was spoiled by printing errors on almost every page. Read morePublished on 4 Jun. 2013 by Davina Gammon