- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (25 April 1974)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014001165X
- ISBN-13: 978-0140011654
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 680,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Love for Lydia Paperback – 25 Apr 1974
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"'One of the most vividly evocative writers of English... able to conjure up in a handful of words whole landscapes and moods' Listener 'Drawn with simple, often touching force.' Guardian 'H. E. Bates can achieve a quality of lyrical intensity that few contemporary novelists can match' Times Literary Supplement" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
H.E. Bates was born in 1905 at Rushden in Northamptonshire and was educated at Kettering Grammar School. He worked as a journalist and clerk on a local newspaper before publishing his first book after which he quickly acquired a reputation for his stories about English country life. During the World War II, he was a squadron leader in the R.A.F. and was commissioned to write stories about service life, which he published under the pseudonym of 'Flying Officer X'. In 1958 the Larkin family appeared for the first time in The Darling Buds of May, the first of the enduringly popular Larkin family novels. Bates was awarded he C.B.E. in 1973 and died in 1974. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
All of Hardy's novels are set in the South-West of England (or "Wessex" as he called it), especially his native Dorset. Bates too concentrated on certain regions of the country as the setting for his novels, typically Northamptonshire, the county where he grew up, and Kent, the country to which he moved in the 1930s. (Some of his wartime stories, such as "The Jacaranda Tree" and "Fair Stood the Wind for France" are set abroad).
Like "The Feast of July" and "Charlotte's Row", "Love for Lydia", first published in 1952, is one of his Northamptonshire novels, set in the small industrial town of Evensford, possibly based upon his home town of Rushden, a town where the main industry is the manufacture of shoes and leather goods. The story takes place during the late 1920s and early 1930s and is narrated by the main character, Mr Richardson, a young apprentice journalist on the local newspaper. (We never learn his Christian name). The novel may be semi-autobiographical; Richardson is around the same age as the author would have been and, like him, works both as a reporter and as a warehouse clerk.Read more ›
Set just after the first world war, Lydia moves to a country town to live with her aunts and uncle, and plays havoc with the emotions of the young men who see her. It's all here: first love, unrequited love, jealousy, passion and despair - but H.E. Bates is a restrained and sublime writer so this never descends into over-blown chic-littish melodrama. I think I've persuaded myself I must re-read it immediately!
The story is told in a slow ponderous style, very different from the modern pacy novels I have been reading lately and it took me a while to get into it, in part because I had to keep checking back to understand what was going on. Once I had got used to it though I was absolutely captivated. It's one of those books that's worth reading for the use of words alone. It's poetic, lyrical, melodic. The descriptions are just wonderful. Here is how the narrator describes one of the Miss Aspen's:
"As she spoke she ruffled up in her chair and no longer dumpling-like and rotund, seemed to be going through a process of an almost grotesque enlargement, fluffing herself out, sprouting wings. Like a hen about to spring up on a perch after laying an egg."
By today's standards the descriptions of the countryside and the setting are very long, but they are so beautiful. There are far too many to choose from, but here are just a few:
"The colour of the frozen afternoon, all apricot and bronze, came levelly across the ice in a startling horizontal fire"
"A lichen-like green hung above the sunset, and the shadows, all across the snow, became of indigo brilliance before finally dissolving.Read more ›
The central character and narrator, Richardson – his first name is never revealed, is looking back on his youth. He was a young, callow, bookish man, both aspirational and dreamy, in his very late teens/verge of his twenties. He had a couple of firm friendships from his schooldays. Tom Holland, a young farmer, symbolising a thoroughly decent, uncomplicated kind of Anglo-Saxon English yeoman, whose warm, large family have had their roots in the countryside, with a keen sense of home, for generations. His other friend, Alex Sanderson, no less innocent, is more highly strung. It is less clear, with both Richardson himself, and Alex, what their eventual place in the world will be. At the start of the novel, Richardson is working, not very successfully, not very willingly, as a reporter on the local paper, a job he throws up for a less demanding, more casual place as a clerk in one of the local leather industries. There is hint that more ‘bookish’ concerns will draw him – and his work background has similarities to Bates’ own. Alex is from a financially comfortable background, his father a businessman.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sons and Lovers without the sex. Slow, sweet read of youthful love in a gentler time, cut through with tragedy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Eve
Love for Lydia ranks as one of the best of H E Bates Novels. Written in the early 50s, it tells the story of young Lydia who is brought to live with two Aunts at a big estate in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sue K
I read and fell in love with this novel as a teenager. And I am so glad it is being re-released now! Read morePublished 4 months ago by aranzazu
Simply beautiful. What young woman hasn't part-envied, part-hated, part-pitied Lydia?Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
An interesting novel. Well written, wonderful prose. I loved the first half of the book but found it unsatisfying on the wholePublished 4 months ago by monty
Love for Lydia, H. E. Bates
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Literary Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
I’m an avid reader, always... Read more
This is another of those books I'm not quite sure of my opinion. I'm not even sure if I understood it, it was one of those books that anyone can understand, they just have to care... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Saarah N