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The Late George Apley Paperback – March 9, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a novel about manners and invokes the particular time and place of the WASP ascendency in America, just before the second World War. Marquand's hero is a representative of what used to be known as a "Boston Brahmin." Marquand handles Apley with a mixture of bemusement and foundness. He has clearly met George Apley's in his life and knows the type well. What would have been in less capable hands a mere characture, becomes a full portrait of what was at the time, a dying breed. Marquand sensed this and this provides the point of departure for the book.
"The Late George Apley is a bit of a pastische of privately printed books designed to memorialize a dearly departed loved one. This allows Marquand to use his frequently used flashback technique to describe the particulars of Apley's life. At times this provides Marquand with the opportunity to indulge in both high comedy and low drama, as is the case when Apley falls in love with a girl who is both Irish and Catholic. Although this enables some satire on the subject of the way Boston's elite viewed the Irish, it is also a source of regret that Apley, like so many characters in Marquand's books, did not make a different choice in life. Sentiments that as Jonathan Yardley has observed "are not just limited to the denizens of Backbay or Harvard Square."
Marquand uses a brilliant narrative device using two voices: the ever-so-proper Bostonian diarist and George's black sheep son. The two frequently write each other disputing the type of memoir to be written about George. You grow very fond of both these completely different narrators.
This is one of my all-time-favorite novels. Reading it once is not enough
Whether Marquand intended a pun on this family's name or not, it is an apt, fictional name for a family of Boston. Planted in Boston's fertile cultural soil, this Brahmin family weathers the passage of different ages in American History. Seen through George's eyes, the events shape the people only as much as the people let themselves be shaped, and these Bostonians seriously intend on shaping their lives.
This novel has a more formal, stilted language throughout, but it works here; it is necessary. Read this book to discover an age, to explore characterization, to ride down theCharles River of time. It has a subtle, genteel power: finesse and civility predominate. How refeshing in this age of stark, graphic literalness!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The novel, largely an epistolary one, gives a deep and thoughtful overview of the life of George Apley, a scion of Boston during the last half of the 19th century and the first... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Montana Mackay
What a great book. Too bad we don't have more brilliant writers like Marquand now or the educational establishment to appreciate such great work. Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. Ginocchio
I cannot say too much in praise of this classic. It's quite inadequate to say it's involving, clever, wise, touching, sad and funny, but it is all of those things and more. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Walter J. Jamieson Jr.
The subtitle for THE LATE GEORGE APLEY is A NOVEL IN THE FORM OF A MEMOIR, and so, rather than a traditional, and likely less effective, approach, author John Marquand makes use of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Bryan Byrd
For the first 25 or so pages of this wonderful novel, I didn't know what to expect. In truth, I felt a little negative. Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by M. Feldman
Marquand is every bit as good as Auchincloss in depicting the vanished era of the upper classes in New England. Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by Lockett F. Ballard
I found the book funny, satiric and many LOLs. I am (like our hero) reaching the winter of my life, and I found the ending very sad and moving. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by Joel Balsham