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School for Love (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – February 3, 2009


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School for Love (New York Review Books Classics) + Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy (New York Review Books Classics) + Fortunes of War: The Levant Trilogy (New York Review Books Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590173031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590173039
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This portrait of Middle Eastern politics is especially timely; highly recommended." --Library Journal

"How, in just a few pages, does a writer earn our trust, and her characters our allegiance? Olivia Manning's work has been out of sight for decades, but her newly reissued School for Love is about to charm and startle a whole new generation of readers." --O, The Oprah Magazine

"Olivia Manning was an outstanding novelist." --The Times (London)

"A triumph of portraiture, compassionate, witty and assured”–Time and Tide

"There is something good in almost everything Olivia Manning wrote" –The Spectator

“Olivia manning has taken her place in the first rank of English novelists.” –Los Angeles Times

“The intensity of Miss Manning’s brilliantly perceptive writing is controlled by a serene style.” –New York Times

“She has been compared with Graham Greene and Anthony Powell. Anthony Burgess, who thinks the two trilogies may prove to be ‘the finest fictional record of the war produced by a British writer,’ finds in her a kinship with Tolstoy.” –The Los Angeles Times
 
"I've just finished a series of Olivia Manning novels. She's best known for two trilogies: Balkan Trilogy and Levant Trilogy. The six novels are continuous and contain the same set of characters. They are based on Manning's experiences in Eastern Europe and Egypt during the Second World War. Each novel is a wonderful picture of the peculiar British expatriate culture and what was happening during the war. She's one of those brilliant women who write very well about domestic relationships. All the books are slim, and it's easy to gallop through them." –Sarah Waters
 
“She produced elegant, incisive, psychologically penetrating novels which conveyed a real sense of contemporary history.” –The Financial Times

"A triumph of portraiture, compassionate, witty and assured”–Time and Tide

“Distinctly out of the ordinary... School for Love shows remarkable qualities of force and originality” –Times Literary Supplement

“A remarkable book.”–C.P. Snow

"The most considerable of our women novelists." –Anthony Burgess

"A writer of genius...brilliant and successful to the point of giving the impression, on a first reading, that it is without a blemish" –William Gerhardie, Times Literary Supplement

From the Inside Flap

Orphaned, friendless and bewildered, young Felix Latimer comes to war-time Jerusalem to lodge with Miss Bohun, one
of the most redoubtable (and ridiculous) of comic horrors in English fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Can Çömlekçi on March 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who appreciates superior writers, vivid characterizations and the intersection of history and literature and who has not yet discovered and read any of Olivia Manning's novels must rectify this omission. Of the highest recommendation is Manning's Balkan Trilogy, Levant Trilogy and "School for Love" as well as a fascinating biography about the author written and published after her death. From the Balkan Trilogy, the first novel ("The Great Fortune") is masterfully written. The BBC series based on the two trilogies (Fortunes of War, with Emma Thompson) is a treasure. The recent new edition of "School for Love" with a foreword by Jane Smiley is a must for readers and collectors of fine literature.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Caballero del febo on July 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The sentimental-sounding title may be misleading; this is in fact a spare, psychologically astute novel of growing up. Felix Latimer, a young orphan left to the care of English expatriate Miss Bohun in wartime Jerusalem, struggles to derive some emotional sustenance from the intermittent attention paid to him by the older people around him, who get on with their own lives, pursuing objectives which he is still too young to fathom.

The leisurely pace with which Manning installs the details of the story immerses us in Felix's naive emotional world. His attempts to decrypt adults' conversations and win their favor often misfire, and only a housecat seems to repay his affection. Yet little by little, the reader watches a bleak and precisely rendered tale of frustrated loves unfold. Felix takes at face value manipulative conversational ventures which to the reader able to read between the lines will carry bitter messages about human nature.

The story Manning has to tell is a poignant one, offering no easy answers but a sensitivity to human dilemmas. The wartime situation (the characters are caught between the end of WW II in Europe and the outbreak of interconfessional war in the Holy Land) compounds the human tragedies, and there are a number of finely observed thumbnail portraits of actors from various sides. A touching and compelling work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve M on June 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
I wanted to read Manning's Balkan Trilogy, but figured I'd start with something shorter. Very glad I did. This strange, quiet book ambles on in a leisurely fashion and yet, I couldn't put it down. The story of an isolated boy at the end of WWII, sent to Jerusalem to await passage back to England, School for Love is a haunting meditation on loneliness. It also contains one of the great monsters in fiction, the boy's hapless landlady, a religious fanatic whose ruthless thrift destroys several lives. The novel has a powerful and surprising ending that stayed with me for days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Langtry on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a coming of age story set in Jerusalem at the end of World War II. A boy in his mid-teens, Felix, has been orphaned. First his British father has been killed in a local uprising in Iraq, and shortly thereafter his mother dies of typhoid. Felix adores his mother and is completely bereft by her death. At first Felix is sheltered by friends of his parents, but they are indifferent to him and wish not to be bothered, so finally Felix is sent to live with a distant relative in Jerusalem while he waits for transport to become available to take him to his uncle in England. Miss Bohun, the distant relative, is an odious character who keeps a boarding house and slyly extracts as much money as possible from her boarders (of whom Felix, it turns out, becomes one), delivering scant portions of food and heat in return. As to the warmth of the heart there is only silliness and self interest in Miss Bohun. Felix is a good-hearted boy, naively ready to see the best in anyone, yet there is no warmth in Miss Bohun that can solace him, and so he turns to Miss Bohun's little Siamese cat, Faro, and pours his love into her. That is until Mrs. Elsie, a pregnant widow arrives to board in the house. It is she who begins to expose for Felix the hypocrisies and cruelties of his aunt, and helps him gain the strength and heart to manage his own life. I am a great fan of Olivia Manning. I think she is a first rate writer who knows how to penetrate the surface of her characters to reveal their deeper fears and yearnings while at the same time maintaining a compelling plot line. It is a total luxury to read her books.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wendy A. Sorrell on September 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Olivia Manning is someone you might not have heard about before but was and is a much loved British writer who has that special talent of being able to describe so in detail that you can actually see the story as you read it. The story is set in 1945 in Jerusalem. The players are Felix, an orphaned teenager and Miss Bohun a relative that he has never met. Felix travels from Baghdad to begin life with this relative and other boarders. If you are fond of British authors, you will want to read Olivia Manning!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adventurous Reader on January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nothing Olivia Manning wrote is without interest. She is an underrated writer - perhaps not given her due because her work is filled with storytelling detail and lacks pretentiousness. Not quite up to her great Balkan Trilogy, but few novels of the time were that good,
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