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Next Up: Loving

Let’s get this out of the way:

I have no idea who Henry Green is, and I have never heard of his novel, Loving.

What kind of a name is Loving for a novel anyway? Was Seeing or Being or Doing unavailable? Maybe I’ll understand soon enough.

To help me, and maybe you, get started figuring out what the fuss is about Loving and Henry Green, let’s look at some quick facts about the novel:

  • Loving, originally published in 1945, sounds a lot like the modern TV series, Downton Abbey, on its surface. The story focuses on an Irish aristocratic family during the Second World War–with the plot centering on them and their servants.
  • In an interview with The Paris Review, Green said he got the idea for Loving from a manservant who served in the Fire Service during the war.
  • Time Magazine called Henry Green a “British Thomas Pynchon” because he only agreed to be photographed from behind.
  • In his younger years, Green worked on a factory floor for a year. This experience helped him appreciate a different class of society, which helped inspire many of his novels, including Loving.
  • Elizabeth Bowen, W.H. Auden, and John Updike have all given Henry Green and Loving high praise. More to come on that.
  • Here’s a positive review of Loving, and here’s a negative review of Loving.

Even in a world where you can practically find anything you need to know on the internet, there’s not a ton of information out there about this novel.

Sure, there’s basic stuff. But in comparison to most of the novels on the Time list, I might have a difficult time finding supplemental information about this one.

That said, do you have any experience with Henry Green or Loving? Please fill me in if you do.

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. teresa #

    I read the book last year and found it delightful. An easy-breezy read to cleanse the palate after too many sad, sad Time 100 stories.

    Like

    September 12, 2013
  2. I could only find a jpg on your positive review link. Now I am very curious about the book as well.

    Like

    September 12, 2013
    • Did you scroll down? The JPG takes up a big part of the page but the review is right below it.

      Like

      September 12, 2013
  3. “Manservant” is a strange word. Does it mean a man performing a service or a person serving a man? And what kind of service is that anyway? Changing oil? Fixing dinner? Or maybe some old school fulfillment of wifely duties. Truly ambiguous.

    Like

    September 12, 2013
    • It means a servant who is a man. I suppose the female equivalent is serving woman. You see the term a lot in late nineteenth century novels – Sherlock Holmes is always bumping into them.

      Like

      September 12, 2013
      • Ha! Yes, I understand the actual meaning of the word “manservant”. My point was one of listening to the words. I still find it a funny word in that a different interpretation can easily be reached.

        Like

        September 13, 2013
  4. None. But I’ve never been more curious about one of the books you’re reading than this one. Not just because there’s very little info, but because I haven’t read much about Irish aristocratic families.

    Like

    September 12, 2013
  5. I have never heard of this book, so am intrigued.

    Like

    September 12, 2013
  6. There is a great description of the book and some commented excerpts as well, in Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose – I found the excerpt wonderful and I bought the book – I started to read, and thanks to this post I am inspired to continue.

    To quote Francine Prose I could say that “How can we possibly choose the passage that best illustrates the subtlety, the depth, the originality and complexity with which Green uses conversation to create character and to tell the minimally dramatic, low-key story that, thanks to the dialogue, seems positively riveting?” – so watch out for the dialogue, it may be interesting.

    Like

    September 12, 2013
  7. This is on my to-read list. One author has described Henry Green as an ‘author’s author’, someone not too popular with the public, but much admired by those of his craft.

    He has been described as a master of deft and exquisite dialog. Please update us on what you find!

    -Charlie

    Like

    September 12, 2013
    • Yes, from what I’ve read, he’s a master of dialogue.

      Like

      September 13, 2013
  8. Reblogged this on Adithya Entertainment.

    Like

    September 13, 2013
  9. I encountered Henry Green and Loving in college when I attended a graduate seminar on twentieth century English novelists. So I am having difficult remembering all the details. The thing that struck me was that he was a great stylist. Someone that would appeal to another writer as opposed to the general reader. I think because he has been so influential upon other great writers may be the reason he is on the list. That and Loving is indeed a great novel. Would suggest that you read Sebastian Faulk’s introduction to Green. Good luck with your reader. Might help if you settled into a large armchair with a cup of tea in a quiet place for this reading.

    Like

    September 13, 2013
  10. Reblogged this on Eyenjiel.

    Like

    September 15, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Henry Green: The Best Author You’ve Never Heard Of | 101 Books
  2. Loving: The Original Downton Abbey? | 101 Books

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