2008: 67. Loving 

“Once upon a day an old butler called Eldon lay dying in his room attended by the head housemaid, Agatha Burch.  From time to time the other servants separately or in chorus gave expression to proper sentiments and then went on with what they were doing.”

Loving, Henry Green

This was our book club’s April/May book, and I am afraid to say that I pushed it on the book club, thinking that since we’d had such luck with other classic novels (Appointment in Samara, East of Eden), that picking a Modern Library Top 100 novel would be a success.  Not so much - we just didn’t get the appeal.  The book tells the story of a the British servants of a big house in Ireland, during the second world war (remember that Ireland was neutral at the time), with smatterings of glances of the upstairs folks thrown in for good measure.  This sounds like a killer premise, particularly since the blurbs I read indicated that Green was one of the first writers to give the lower classes a real novel of their own, with real personalities.  I must disagree- the characters absolutely blended together so that instead of having individual personalities, it was difficult to figure out who was who - instead they seemed like an interchangeable Greek chorus, whose behavior is inscrutable and often  makes no sense (like, for example, what was Edith doing with those peacock eggs? What of the water glass? Where exactly did Kate’s romantic interests like - with Paddy? Rauch? Bert? Edith?).  I was disappointed - particularly since the other books in this three book collection (Living and Party Going) are also highly recommended.  Oh well - maybe I’ll read them as commuting books someday...


Date/Place Completed: 4/24/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction,  Modern Library, Book Resolutions

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017