In chapter twenty-three, about two-thirds of the way through, some of HG's socialist theories are voiced ... but cleverly HG puts them into the mouth of a rogue and a bounder. HG is particularly good at interspersing the theory with half-comments and actions from the listener. Equally he is brilliant at noticing the hesitations and indecisions which signal a dilemma when a character is approaching a decision. He is capable of describing great emotions without resorting to melodrama simply be using the observation of little details to underline the essential everyday ordinariness of his hero. Great writing!
H G Wells is famous for his science fiction novels but this novel demonstrates how good he was at writing about life.
Some great quotes:
- “An unusual sense of the greyness of a teacher's life, of the greyness indeed of the life of all studious souls came, and went in his mind ... He heard the familiar mingled noises of the playground drifting in on him through the open schoolroom door.” (C 1)
- “There are no such things as spirits, mediums were humbugs, and he was here to prove that sole remaining Gospel.” (C 11)
- “Honesty is essentially an anarchistic and disintegrating force in society ...Lies are the mortar that bind the savage individual man into the social masonry.” (C 23)
- “There's truths you have to grow into.” (C 23)
- “What is clothing? The concealment of essential facts.” (C 23)
- “On the earth somewhere poor devils are toiling to get in meat and corn and wine. He is clothed in the lives of bent and thwarted weavers, his way is lit by phossy jaw, he eats from lead glazed crockery - all his ways are paved with the lives of men.” (C 23)
- “What a mess we have made of things! was his new motif. What a mess!” (C 27)
- “It is almost as if Life had played me a trick - promised so much - given so little!” (C 32)
- “Two pieces fell outside the basket. He stooped, picked them up, and put them carefully with their fellows.” (C 32; last lines)
Wells also wrote:
There is a biography of HG Wells reviewed here.