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Angel Pavement Hardcover – June, 1930

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 613 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; First Edition edition (June 1930)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9997414438
  • ISBN-13: 978-9997414434
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,410,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Priestley was a major figure in the cultural life of twentieth-century Britain, as novelist, playwright, essayist, broadcaster and all-round man of ideas. His reputation seems to have dimmed somewhat in recent years and I am not sure that he is known very much at all outside the UK. This is a pity, because he was a writer of immense talent.
Priestley's play An Inspector Calls is still revived from time to time, and it and others of his works have been adapted for the screen. In particular, I recommend The Last Holiday (1950) starring Sir Alec Guinness, if you ever have the chance to see it. I also seem to remember a good movie version of Dangerous Corner, made way back in the days when Joan Collins was gorgeous enough to warrant a visit to `the flicks'.
The Good Companions and Angel Pavement are his best-known and best-regarded novels. Angel pavement is the name of a little side street in London's commercial district. It was also adopted as the name of a rock group, in the sixties I think. In this novel, it is the setting for a social drama, a slice of London life before the war and the blitz changed everything. There is a rich cast of characters in a keenly observed commentary on the lives of ordinary working people. Among the memorable episodes is a beautifully written account of a recital of Brahms' First Symphony. I challenge you to find a better description of a piece of music anywhere in literature. Angel Pavement is by turns funny, sad, pessimistic and passionate, but always hauntingly real.
So how is it that such a great writer is now so neglected? Well, he committed the unforgivable sin of being hugely popular. Every critic and academic knows that no one whose work is loved by millions, and is so easy to read, can be a serious writer. In short, he is a victim of snobbery. But don't let them fool you! Whether novel, play or movie, give Priestley a try. Angel Pavement is a good place to start.
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By A Customer on December 31, 2003
Format: Textbook Binding
Angel Pavement was published in 1930, the same year as 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos. Although more conventional stylistically than Dos Passos's revolutionary montage, Angel Pavement shares with that work a rich and engaging realism. Read it, and you will *be* in 1930s London, following the lives of a group of employees of a veneer and furniture inlay business. The cast of characters is ordinary, yet fascinating; their work and what happens to them isn't all that unusual, either, yet you *will* care. Priestley shows myriad skills here: His ear for dialogue, including dialects, is impeccable; his descriptive powers, making use not only of sights but sounds and smells to create a scene, are keen; and he writes with an effortless and pleasing style. In short, this is a superb novel, unjustly forgotten and well worth your time.
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Format: Hardcover
Author of Afinidad: A novel of a serial killer
Aztec Dawn: A tale of sacrifical murder, from Manhattan to Mexico
I appreciated this book far more the second time I read it because I saw more in it. At first, I felt that Priestley was giving way too much information about his characters, but by the end of the book it had dawned on me that he was writing about fundamental lessons in life that we can all relate to and, in order to do that, he needed to give the reader a thorough look into the hearts and minds of his characters.
The focus of the story is the firm of Dersingham & Twigg, struggling to survive in 1930 London, a time of great economic hardship. It's address is a street called Angel Pavement, hence the name of the book. The catalyst of the tale is the arrival at the firm of a man of no scruples, Mr Golspie, who intends to use the firm to make a lot of money very quickly and then get out. Both he and his beautiful daughter are incarnations of the fantasies that two staff members, Turgis and Miss Matfield, have on a daily basis. Turgis hungers for love and sex; Miss Matfield longs for adventure and excitement. Well, both get their fantasies made real through the Golspies, but with devastating consequences. Smeeth, the office manager, yearns for safety and security but has always feared that he will not have it. Again, through the actions of Golspie, his fears come true. Then there's the principal of the firm, Mr Dersingham, who is going through the motions of being a businessman; his heart is not in it and he just muddles through his life.
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Format: Unknown Binding
Set in 1930 London, Angel Pavement tells of how Twigg and Dersingham is saved at the last minute by the gregarious Mr Golspie, and how the mundane and socially restricted lives of its staff are transformed by his presense. Priestley superbly pads out each character and uses each to illustrate the frustrations brought on by petty rules, restrictions and poverty under Britains old class system;something Priestley always viewed as absurd.
Angel Pavement is very much of its era and describes and decries a London and Britain that no longer exists, but still can make you smile with some of the Priestley dry wit, and often the social situations sketched are wonderful comedy pieces.
Despite the tale being written in and during the great depression, this is just a good comic yarn with the odd social comment thrown in. Unlike the great American poroletarian books of that time, British authors could never find the realism needed,perhaps (like Dickens) restricted by political and social etiquette of the day.....all of which is very ironic!
Priestley was a great playwright, and Angel Pavement would be easy to write as a screen or stage play if anyone out there wants to try their skills out!
An enjoyable read.
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