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The happy prisoner (Abridged books) Unknown Binding – 1 Jan 1961

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Unknown Binding, 1 Jan 1961
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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Longmans (1961)
  • ASIN: B0000CL8EL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,661,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read and enjoyed a number of Monica Dickens books but haven't tried one for a while. For the first I found myself thinking this seemed a little dated - is this really the case though or is it just this book? Considering there is very little story to The Happy Prisoner it is actually a very enjoyable read albeit the characters are a little overdrawn. Like a number of other reviewers I wasn't too keen on the ending - which seemed to suddenly to all be wrapped up in a couple of pages! However this is a nice easy book to read to break up a chain of rather more intense ones.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For years the pink cover of the Mermaid edition of 'The Happy Prisoner' sat in my mother's bookcase. As a child I was fascinated by the image of the old fashioned wheelchair in which Oliver sits, and the title itself was a play on words - especially for a child. I always meant to read the story, but never did, until now, some fifty years later.Strangely I had to re-order the Mermaid edition as that copy, so long in the bookcase, had disappeared! But no other edition would do. Glad I read. Like the bookcover it's a story of its time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A lovely old book set just after WW2 and dealing with the after effects on a middle-class English family. Nothing too startling or original but, as always with Monica Dickens, warm characters the reader can care about and a nicely spun plot. Unfortunately the misprints are truly shocking hence the low star rating.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting look at a family in the 1940s, well written, Monica Dickens certainly knew her characters. As the main part of the narrative was about Oliver, forced to stay in bed due to his injuries, his frustrations are part of the story. Although the author dwells on the need to dress his leg, she completely fails to mention the fact that he would not be able to get up to use the toilet!! Although one would not necessarily want to read all the details of this problem, to not describe it at all detracts from the rest of a very good novel
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Monica Dickens created a strong cast of characters in this absorbing novel. At first, because she describes the main protagonists of Oliver, his mother and sisters with unsentimental clarity, I wasn't sure if I would like them or want to spend a whole book with them, but by the end, I had been drawn into their stories and didn't want the book to end. The humour is woven in without sacrificing feeling, and her descriptions - of Oliver's room as the gathering place for the family, of Oliver's changing moods, and her sketches of minor characters such as the ghastly Honey - are a delight. I know I will come back to this again and again.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Monica Dickens died in 1995 at the age of 80. She is probably not as much read as she once was, but she still has her admirers, and her work was praised by such heavyweights as J.B. Priestley, Rebecca West, A.S. Byatt and John Betjeman. The Happy Prisoner, published in 1946, was one of her most successful books; it’s far from forgotten, and has now been made available for Kindle.

It begins on an autumn night at the end of the Second World War. A moth flies in through the ground-floor window of an old manor house in Shropshire. Trapped, it struggles with the light. It does not know that it is being closely observed by a man who lies in a bed in the window alcove, keenly aware of the moth’s texture, its colours, and of its struggles. “This moth, which had seemed such a nuisance... was really a show-piece, a miracle of skilled craftsmanship prodigally squandered on a single night’s existence. ...If this pattern had been on a shawl or tapestry, it would have taken months or years of painful, eye-straining toil.”

It is, we gather, not something the man in the bed would have noticed before. But Oliver’s leg has been blown off at Arnhem, and a shell splinter has damaged his heart; he is immobile in this bed, in its alcove, a little raised above floor level, comfortable, at the heart of his family. No-one really knows when he will be well enough to leave the bed. He has time to observe the behaviour not only of moths, but of humans. And he does so in a way that he has, it seems, never quite done before. Over the course of Monica Dickens’s quite long book (it’s over 100,000 words), the reader watches a family through the Oliver’s eyes, and sees a broad and beautifully-observed range of human behaviour.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Monica Dickens has her great grandfather's talent for observing and describing people. A wonderful story describing a lost way of life and a class of people who have disappeared forever. All her books draw you into the world and the people she is describing, and this one is no exception. Oliver, a wounded war hero and his families struggles,their ups and downs, their tears and laughter will keep you gripped from first page to last.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been waiting ages for this to be available on KIndle--first it was on for preorder then it vanished! However, I can download it now.
This is a book that I have read many times, like all Monica's books, and I enjoy them every time-Just now,I am reading "The Fancy" which seems to have vanished from the Kindle list---And again I ask Amazon--where is "Thursday Afternoons" and "The Heart of London"--not to mention "One pair of feet" and "My turn to make the tea"--plus the true autobiography "An open door" --why are they not yet available ?
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