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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 16 December 2018

"Love and Mr Lewisham" by H G Wells

We first encounter Mr Lewisham as a teacher in a second-rate school. He has plans. He will learn and pass his degree and then he will become rich and famous. But he falls in love and this disrupts his ambitions. The passages after his marriage in which he and his new wife struggle to make ends meet, resulting in bitterness and marital rows, and the blighting of his dreams, are beautifully written. The culmination of their discord is a chapter which is as exciting as anything written nowadays. And the reflections on life, bitter and tender, were spot-on.

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.

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