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The Tortoise and the Hare (VMC) Paperback – February 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: VMC (Book 439)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Virago UK; New edition edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844084949
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844084944
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

My best book of almost all time is THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE by Elizabeth Jenkins ... wonderfully sinister, so enchantingly written and so sad. Everyone should read it Jilly Cooper As smooth and seductive as a bowl of cream Hilary Mantel One of my favourite classics. Elegant and ironic, its continuing charm lies in its quirky and enigmatic love story which becomes more beguiling with each re-reading Carmen Callil Deliciously subtle...A lost world of tweeds and twin-sets...a classic novel of the fifties DAILY MAIL

From the Publisher

Virago¹s distinguished Modern Classics series is dedicated to the celebration of women writers of the 19th and 20th centuries and to the rediscovery and reprinting of their work. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Rathan on August 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How does this book not have more reviews? I found it through the 2010 PBS summer reading list and it was absolutely enchanting. I couldn't put it down. As a short description, I'd say it's like a 1950's version of a Jane Austen novel - uppercrust English society, beautiful prose, absorbing conversations, and descriptions of the English countryside. The images and scenes of the book stay with you long after you've put it down. Aside from that, it's also a moving story about a troubled marriage, and the gender roles of the mid-1950's that made men and women much more unalike than need be.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By carolyn mufson on June 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an elegantly written, albeit slowly paced book. It tells the story of a fastidious wife and indifferent mother whose life revolves around pleasing and maintaining the interest of her husband, who is difficult to please. When a neighbor begins to intrude on the marriage the wife's world is changed. It is the familiar world of upper middle class England after the Second War and the preoccupation with appearances of the leisure class. The book written well before the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Camilla Parker Bowles,but it may remind some readers of the prince's preference for the less beautiful and more motherly Camilla over the glamourous Lady Diana .
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jane H. Otoole on October 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
i found this book in a bargain bin years ago and it has long been a favorite of mine. for some reason, i never thought to look for other books by Elizabeth Jenkins and only recently have. she appears to have had an even greater interest in english history than in fiction, but i've obtained a novel, "Harriet" and an Elizatheth I bio. "Harriet" from 1934 is a must read, a facinating and rather horrifying tale of the complicity between several people to gradually arrange the slow death of a simple minded girl for her money---wow! the Elizabeth I biography awaits me, but i anticipate it being special, since the author is a great storyteller. in my mind, i imagined a masterpiece theater production of Tortoise and the Hare, but my ideal Evelyn is no longer with us, Alan Bates. he had the magnetism and physical stature and air of intimidation which would have been perfect for the role. i wish someone would tackle the story, and can't believe someone hasn't already. but for a civilized and unconventional story of a disintegrating marriage, Tortoise and the Hare is unmatched.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Bell VINE VOICE on October 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Imogen Gresham is 37, married to a very successful barrister. They have an eleven-year-old son, a rather beastly boy named Gavin. Imogen's husband, Evelyn, develops a friendship with their neighbor, a wealthy fifty-something-year-old spinster named Blanche Silcox. She and Imogen are completely opposite; and it's Evelyn's relationship with Blanche that colors the whole tone of his relationship with his wife.

Imogen is a domestic, preferring home over hunting or any of the other country pursuits that her husband engages in. It's partly due to this as well that their relationship becomes fraught with tension. They have nothing in common, so it's really no wonder that Evelyn turns to an older woman (one much closer in age to him than Imogen is) for, at the very least, friendship. It's an odd affair; usually the femme fatale is a younger, not some staid, aging spinster. So the whole dynamic of the novel shifts. It's perfectly natural that Evelyn and Blanche should become friends; but their relationship isn't wholly natural. I still can't quite figure things out.

What I loved about this book was Imogen's reaction to the whole affair; it's because of it, and her discovery of what's going on, that she grows and matures as a person. When I began to read this novel, Imogen more or less faded into the background; she really wasn't compelling enough as a main character, and so I really didn't become attached to her right away. But the more I read, the more I liked her. She displays a quiet strength as she faces Evelyn and Blache's affair hat I found quite admirable. I don't think that a lot of people in her situation, with her kind of personality, would have the strength to do what she does in the end. And she gets major points for putting up with Evelyn for all those years!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By upfront_reader on June 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not sure how to feel about this book. On the one hand, the author's amazing descriptions, the depth of her characterizations, her ability to draw us into her world, were absorbing. On the other hand, I don't think I've read a book that left me feeling more unsettled than this one did. The lack of resolution, the deliberate failure to tie everything up in a neat little bow, was frustrating, yet the ending was perfect for the book and the situation. This book took me far from where I expected to end up, but the journey was never less than amazing. I can't wait to find more by Elizabeth Jenkins.
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