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on July 3, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Had surprisingly never heard of Gerhardie. Am now a diehard fan. William Boyd calls it, “the most influential English novel of the twentieth century.” It tells the unforgettable story of an eccentric Belgian family living in the Far East during the turbulent years just after the First World War, which displaced them, and the Russian Revolution, which impoverished them. Really stunning writing.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
"...the glorious twin towers of All Souls stood, wise and quiet, in the nacre-coloured air. They had stood there long before I had come into the world, and they would stand there long after I had ceased to be."

Partly autobiographical, Gerhardie's second novel and the one that put him firmly on the map. A weird funny original work of comic genius. Published in 1925, the same year as The Great Gatsby; the beginning of what I call a decade and a half of quality pre-war Anglo/Irish/American literature which concludes with For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Last Tycoon in 1940. This period includes F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Edmund Wilson, Henry Miller(censored), Ezra Pound, James Joyce(Ulysses finished in 1914, first officially printed in France in 1922, the United States in 1934, and Britain in 1936, thanks to censorship. He died in 1941), D.H. Lawrence, Ford Madox Ford, George Orwell, T.S. Eliot, Malcolm Lowry, Nicholas Monsarrat, Graham Greene, John Cowper Powys, and Aldous Huxley.
A worthy companion novel, though written later and different in style and somewhat in POV is Richard McKenna's, "The Sand Pebbles" concerning Western commercial & military presence in the Far East.
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