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The Rock Pool: A Novel Paperback – June 30, 1999

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cyril Connolly (1903-74) was one of the most influential reviewers and book critics in England, contributing regularly to The New Statesmen, The Observer, and The Sunday Times. His essays have been collected in book form and published to wide acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. The Rock Pool was his only novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Persea; 1st edition (June 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892550597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892550593
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,398,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By D. P. Birkett on December 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Set in the 1930's in the south of France. An obnoxious, conventional, and relatively wealthy, young Englishman encounters a group of unconventional cosmopolitan artists and bohemians. He disapproves of them at first and then becomes seduced by their life-style. They take his his money and leave him. He degenerates into alcoholism.
It's a mildly entertaining amateurish attempt to imitate early Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh and Norman Douglas. The shadow of Hitler looms. Some of the writing is so clumsy that I wondered if my copy (a Persea 1981 reprint) had proofreader's (really non-proofreader's) errors. For example: "The principle of polite society, that unknown here; people appeared to grudge one of causing pleasure and avoiding pain, seemed second's agreeable intercourse and atone for it with unremitting rudeness." Does that make any sense? I wondered about "mentula moechia." Is there such a Latin word as "mentula?"
The strange thing is that the author was regarded as one of the great literary figures of the century. Why? This was his only novel. His other books were a book telling people how to write books and a book of literary criticism.
Another puzzle is that Cyril Connolly claimed it was rejected for publication because it was considered obscene. People go to bed with people they're not married to, but no details are given of what they do. There isn't a single naughty word. It's implied that some characters are homosexual.
I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it. It has some interesting insights and well-written parts, but why is Connolly considered so great?
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By A Customer on July 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
In response to the previous review: The quality of the Persea edition is so poor that I suspect it's a production failure. Too much is mangled to be poor proofreading.
As to the question of Connelly's undeserved fame. One possible answer is that George Orwell endlessly shilled for Connelly (they were schoolmates). The excellent 4-volume "collected letters and journalism" shows Orwell talking up Connelly starting in 1936 and not ending until soon before Orwell's death.
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