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on 5 February 2008
I love this book. I'm awed by the love in it and the strange description and the dialogue caught so faithfully. It's set in Birmingham among factory workers in the late 1920s. This is a passage from it:

'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.
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on 13 October 2000
Until last year I'd never heard of him, but apparently Green was considered the best of his generation: his writing is - if you persevere - approachable but never easy, his insight is unique and revealing but never predictable...; he's Hardy without the Definite Article. Try him (...a small price to change your view of literature forever), and I'd be interested in your views: anyone for a Green revival?
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on 18 July 2008
I'm also new to Henry Green, but loved this book. It manages to be moving without ever being mawkish, and real without ever letting you forget the quality of the prose.

Just gorgeous to curl up with on rainy Summer evenings.
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"Living" is a rare treat. The prose style is set in a Midlands accent throughout, using not just a distinctive vocabulary but the clipped rhythms, dropped articles, and regional phrasing patterns.

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.
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on 30 August 2011
the Kindle edition of this book, unless you like guessing where the full stops should be. The text hasn't been scanned properly and really shouldn't be on sale in this form.
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on 28 September 2012
I understand many of the reviewers who found Henry Green difficult but thought Sebastian Faulks was a bit sweeping in his introduction that 'Party Going, though it has proved a most fertile ground for critics and theorists of narrative, is the one that is most likely to be problematic to the non-academic reader' as if an 'ordinary' reader hasn't the application or intelligence to get through these three volumes. I'm sure he didn't mean it to sound like that.

Yes - they are hard work on one level, but that's only because they break modern conventions of novel writing much as Wilf Self has done in Umbrella. However, once you fall into the rhythm of Green's lyrical dialogue it is no more difficult to read than a play and when he breaks from dialogue to describe a rare piece of location the images - for example, the conversations shouted over the sound of the relentlessly crashing surf in Loving - live on long after you have finished the book.
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on 31 August 2013
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 the text has been printed at an angle on the page so that the lines are on a slope up from left to right.

This is the second Vintage Classics paperback I have bought recently and the other was also a shoddy edition. I shall try to avoid the imprint in future.
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on 4 June 2013
Henry Green is a wonderful writer but this work was spoiled by printing errors on almost every page.
The work depends on delicate nuances of meaning inaccurate text destroys those
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on 2 November 2015
nice
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