- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperFestival; Reprint edition (Jun. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0694015792
- ISBN-13: 978-0694015795
- Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 12.8 x 1.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,068,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
National Velvet (Charming Classics S.) Paperback – 1 Jun 2002
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"A story which is at once breathlessly exciting and a delightful character study." ---"London Times"Put on your not-to-be-missed list." ---"The New Yorker"Some books are to be gobbled at a sitting. This is one." ---"Atlantic"The book is one that horse lovers of every age cannot fail to enjoy." ---"The New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The book that inspired the classic film starring Elizabeth Taylor, National Velvet is a true classic. Alongside Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka it is one of the great horse books for children. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Reading Enid Bagnold's work makes connections with other authors. I've always found the book reminiscent of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy, with its odd yet functioning family. Velvet's mother, like Gertrude Groan, looms monstrously but lovingly in the background. In the place of Gertrude's cats and birds, we have Velvet's sister and her canaries: the little birds are kept in cages and represent the dreams of the family at night in a way that reminds me of Under Milk Wood.Read more ›
Along with the tale of the underdog, there's a lot going on in this book - there's the portrayal of England in 1930s Britain, the rural countryside and the beautiful backdrop of those chalk white cliffs which epitomise England so much. Indeed, one can almost see the embodiment of England in the Pie himself (with his black and white patches) - or so I once argued in a University essay (and there's must have been something in it, I got a decent mark, I seem to recall...)
Velvet Brown lives in a small English town with four sisters and a little brother, Donald. He's a right pain and the older girls are all concerned about nail polish, hair dos and boyfriends. Velvet however wants a horse. There is a lot of social comment and discussion which gets in the way of the horse story and can make it tedious especially for younger readers.
Velvet gets her wish when a half-broken piebald horse is sold to her cheaply; in the film it's a bright bay. She names him The Pie and with the help of a wandering young stable worker who spots the horse's potential she trains him up for steeplechasing. Her mother once swum the English Channel and was rewarded with gold sovereigns, which she now uses as a race entry fee for Velvet and The Pie in the Grand National. Perhaps Mrs Brown didn't like Velvet very much, given that this was the most dangerous race in Britain at the time, with severe obstacles which have now been reduced because so many horses were killed. Another snag is that The Pie was not a Thoroughbred and has never raced. Enid Bagnold the author says that "for all I can find a donkey could have entered at that time, provided he was the right age." And a third snag is that girls were not allowed to be jockeys. So Velvet has to pretend to be a foreign boy jockey who doesn't speak English or much of anything. Altogether it has been described as a farce by racehorse trainers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent, purchased as a present for a young female horse person (Grand Daughter), her thoughts on the book are very positive, so yeah, this story presses all the right buttons... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Inquisio
Enjoyable read, although sometimes drags on boringly about Velvets bad features. (Like her stomach :/)Published on 11 May 2015 by Laura hamstergirl
The film is far superior to the book. In the film we see Elizabeth Taylor with shining eyes sharing her dream of becoming the winner of the Grand National. Read morePublished on 8 July 2014 by Samuel Barber