Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Henry Green and Djuna Barnes

And these are some books I read recently

“Party Going” – Henry Green
(Vintage Classics, 2000 – originally 1939)
In the F Scott Fitzgerald vein, a bunch of over-priviledged and super rich London socialities are holed up in a railway hotel as a rog descends on the city and prevents them catching their train to France. On the cusp of the modernist vein, this novel spans a four-hour period in about 200 pages and focuses on the fear of the working-class crowd who are all gathering in the station below, battering on the hotel doors to seek refuge, and the contrasting wealth of our anti-heroes.

“Nightwood” – Djuna Barnes
(Faber & Faber, 2001 – originally 1936)
Apparently a lesbian classic, this virtually unreadable account of a group of thoroughly unlikable characters is highly praised by TS Eliot – who claims that only those who understand poetry will fully appreciate it. Felix marries Robin, who has his baby and leaves to go off with Nora. She then leaves Nora for Jenny. All this is narrated by the cross-dressing Doctor. Lots of metaphors, lots of long speeches about ‘the night’, and a confusing ending. Preposterous!

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