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Loving; Living; Party Going (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – February 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"His novels made more of a stylistic impact upon me than those of any writer living or dead."
      --John Updike

"Green's novels reproduce as few do the actual sensation of living."
      --Elizabeth Bowen

About the Author

John Updike, author of Rabbit, Run and other celebrated works, is a preeminent American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (February 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140186913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140186918
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 100 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on October 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Written at the end of the Second World War, sandwiched between 'Once upon a day' and 'they lived happily ever after', a death and a marriage, 'Loving' is a fairy tale of the rarest enchantment. While war and social disruption echo from the 'real' world, 'Loving' offers us a sprawling castle from which we never leave, crowded with brilliant peacocks, doves making love on a huge dovecote replica of Pisa's Leaning Tower, and the most elaborately absurd decor in fiction. Within this rarefied, hermetic milieu, broadly familiar from the novels of Elizabeth Bowen and Evelyn Waugh, unravels a tale of a declining aristocracy (the cuckolded man of the house is at war) and cast of bickering, spying, scheming, anxious, unsettled servants, with the focus, unusually, on the latter, especially Raunce the new butler, and Edith, the beautiful, lively maid, two of the richest characters in fiction, not because they're particularly extraordinary, but because Green, in fleet, tightly packed comic-romantic-ironic-prismatic prose, remains alert and faithful to their every mood, whim, desire and fear, creating a genuine, joyful, life-like unexpectedness, and, in the combination of unreal surroundings and emotional realism, rapture after rapture of epiphany, such as the distant sight of two girls waltzing to a worn phonograph, endlessly reflected in the glass of a chandelier. It is one of my favourite books.
'Living' is an astonishing achievement by any standards, never mind those of a 24-year-old, and one that suggests that Green's peers are not his schoolfriends Waugh or Anthony Powell, but prose-poets like Virginia Woolf or Samuel Beckett who try to capture the quicksilver complexity of human behaviour.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By KS on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
If John Updike is a writer's writer, Henry Green is a writer's writer's writer! This volume is an excellent introduction to this little known, fascinating, 20th century British writer.
"Loving" reminds one of "Remains of the Day" but even though it was written decades earlier is richer in theme (notice the peacocks in the book).
"Living" is my favorite of Green's novels, a lovely evocation of working class life that contains some of the most beautiful prose of the 20th century (stylisticly, Green eschews the use of articles, and this gives his prose an other-worldly poetic quality).
"Party Going" is at once more existential and more funny... upper class silly young things (kindred spirits of Bertie Wooster) are caught in an Ionesco-esqe fog that traps them in a train station (notice the pigeons in the book).
If you love Green as much as I did after finishing this volume, you'll quickly seek out his other 6 books.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By John Hendry on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm sad that the reader from Maine felt so insulted by Mr Green's work. I can only guess that he or she thought they had bought a contemporary pot-boiler to read on the airplane and were shocked to find they were reading a 20th century classic, because the criticism of the dialogue was entirely unjustified. The dialogue in Loving is wonderful - precisely because it is so clearly of another age. It is through the language of this novel that we understand and become enmeshed by its central themes.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Gulley Jimson on June 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Have you ever sat and thought, man, I wish someone would write a book about living? And possibly loving? Well, Henry Green has gone out and done just that. I had never thought that a book about going to parties might be necessary, but after reading it I think that Mr. Green has indeed performed a valuable service. This wonderful collection of novels is, quite frankly, a comprehensive exploration, and no new books need be written on any of these subjects.
In any case, the writing made my jaw drop in spots, it was so good, and Green way of looking at things is funny and humane while being mercilessly clear-eyed. The only reason I think they've stopped teaching his books in colleges is because they don't have the sort of things one can write papers about: complicated networks of imagery and whatnot that can be dug out of the text and have a title slapped on them. Green's book are too alive to have anything particularly systematic going on in them, while retaining the structure and unity of true works of art. Amazing books, go out and read them.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read both of the three-novel volumes published by Penguin, and while I think even the worst of these is at least good, LOVING shines out as one of the best novels that I have ever read. Set in Ireland during WW II and consisting almost entirely of dialogue (no narrative voice worth noting), it tells a poignant yet hopeful story of love in the upper and servant classes of a country castle and estate. The ending is one of the very best that I have encountered, rivaling my other favorite endings (BROTHERS KARAMOZOV, THE WHITE HOTEL, and POSSESSION).
I had serious reservations about the Modern Library list of the 100 Greatest English Novels of the 20th century, but I was delighted to see that they included LOVING.
LIVING is not as strong as the other two books, but PARTY GOING, while not the masterpiece that LOVING is, is nonetheless a very, very fine book indeed.
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