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Loving / Living / Party Going
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Loving / Living / Party Going

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  421 ratings  ·  75 reviews

Henry Green explored class distinctions through the medium of love. This volume brings together three of his novels contrasting the lives of servants and masters (Loving); workers and owners, set in a Birmingham iron foundry (Living); and the different lives of the wealthy and the ordinary, (Party Going).

Paperback, Penguin Classics, 528 pages
Published February 1st 1993 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published February 10th 1978)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,521)
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Tisa
Mar 01, 2009 Tisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
I really loved Concluding,and I'm enjoying the first novel in this collected three, Loving, even more, for its "life below stairs" perspective. Green is a master of a kind of narrative strategy that excises all the fluff and chatter and lets the dialogue do the work, like a play, without sacrificing a sense of interior for the characters, in that uncanny way with speech and gesture that playwrights have. His narrators cannot enter into the body, but what is said by our guide, in conjunction with ...more
Alan
Three great novels. Poetic, mysterious, true. Not for everyone though as the style (different in each one) can be difficult. This piece of description from 'Loving' has stayed with me for many years:

(The saddleroom)was a place from which light was almost excluded now by cobwebs across its two windows and into which, with the door ajar, the shafted sun lay in a lengthened arch of blazing sovereigns. Over a corn bin on which he had packed last autumn's ferns lay Paddy snoring between these windows
...more
Bob
Henry Green is (like Dawn Powell) one of those famously forgotten writers, whose oeuvre is brought back into print every 15 years or so, with dust jacket encomia from writers who have achieved more sustained renown.
"Loving", from 1945, has a kind of "upstairs/downstairs" structure in which the doings and conversation of the servants and the gentry on an Anglo-Irish estate are contrasted. The former are baudier but ultimately probably more conventionally moral than their masters - not sure if Gre
...more
Alyssa
As this edition is 3 novels in one book it is hard for me to review all of it despite having read the whole thing. Henry Green's writing is difficult and slow going, but his characters are fascinating, if confusing. This probably explains why his novels have recently come into the favor of literary critics. This collection of 3 novels gave a very interesting view of the early to mid 20th century and allowed for exploration of the different social classes during this time. While I enjoyed reading ...more
Trena
Jun 22, 2008 Trena rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Trena by: book club
This book is allegedly one of the top 100 books of the century. It is hideously terrible and completely unreadable. It is basically a transcript of complete mundanities. I can see how, perhaps, it was innovative when it was written (but surely he wasn't the first to write about the "downstairs" of a great house), but it is ungodly awful. In my opinion, this is an Emperor's New Clothes kind of book. It can't possibly be as stupid and pointless as it seems, smart people say it's awesome, and so ev ...more
Lauren
Well, just Loving but I liked it lot and plan to read the other two, just not right away. Good for folks who like their modernist lit with a bit of Downton Abbey. I liked the subtle humor.
Kristin
Loving by Henry Green is about the goings-on between the servants and masters in a castle in Ireland during WWII. It's a pretty simple tale, but there isn't much plot. There's a sort of love triangle between the butler, Charlie, his "man" (aka assistant) Albert, and a chamber maid, Edith, a missing ring, fear of the I.R.A., a drunken cook, an affair between the master's (Mrs. Tennant) daughter-in-law and Capt. Davenport while Mr. Jack (Mrs. Tennant's son) is off doing the army thing... it's more ...more
Terri
Loving: Four Stars
Living: Three Stars
Party Going: Three and a Half Stars

Each of these three novels follows multiple characters representing different social strata: the servants and the served in an Irish country house during WWII (Loving), generations of steel foundry workers and owners in Birmingham (Living), and wealthy travelers stuck in a train station hotel (Party Going). The stories can be a little difficult to follow at first: in each, characters are referred to by several names, the nar
...more
Korri
Sep 16, 2012 Korri rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Korri by: Martin
Read Loving on the bus to Manhattan and on Roosevelt Island Thursday 23 August 2012. Green does a wonderful job of letting the characters speak for themselves with minimal third-person omniscent narration. It reminds me of a stageplay in that the dialogue reveals so much about the characters and their secrets, longings, and motivations. It makes the tale more life-like & vivid.

Party Going has been my handbag book since August. Like Loving it focused on class and status through the lens of lo
...more
Michael
The 3 best novels by this criminally neglected writer, all in one handy omnibus. If you mesh with his unique style, there are 5 later novels to enjoy and his great first novel, Blindness. If you really catch Green fever (and I really think you should), read his autobiographical Pack My Bag, or Jeremy Treglown's biography/critical study, Romancing. His life was as interesting as his fictional worlds. Green belongs right up in the pantheon with that great generation of British writers that came of ...more
Thomas Armstrong
I got this book only to read Loving, which I wanted to read because it was on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century (I'm a sucker for book lists!) I had a hard time getting into it initially because I kept wondering where the plot was going. Then after maybe sixty pages I went back and read John Updike's introduction and learned that the narrative wasn't supposed to be going anywhere. I found out that the book was actually about life's moments reflected agains ...more
Jeni
this is one of those "in it to win it" books that I begin, and gradually realize I'm going to be putting in some thankless work...but I'm NOT giving up... For the uninitiated, Henry Green is a many splendored thing.. just make sure to choose wisely. He changes voice on a dime..
Matt
"Intensely original" is a perfect way to describe these novels. I also like the word "dazzling" for the way some of the sentences read. The lovliness of some of them actually made me gasp. I do not recall reading anything else quite like this.
Federico
Only read "Loving".
A very boring and hard read for me. Why on earth this house has so many servants? what do they do all day long? why does the author let them talk incessantly in their annoying jargon? Dear author, please interrupt them, please do something to convince me I should care. Because I really don't care about all those names: yes names, just names, as they don't come alive as real characters to me.
We are promised that the arrival of the kids will bring some change, but seriously, I d
...more
Kate
"Her voice was thick with love. She shut the door."
Paige
I found Living difficult, but Loving a dream.
Dwight
Dec 12, 2011 Dwight added it
My review

I finished Loving by Henry Green yesterday and my opinion on it seems to change each time I think about it. I enjoyed the novel but at the same time I got the feeling I was being had or duped. The abrupt, fairy-tale ending only added to that feeling. At the same time, though, I couldn’t help laughing at the absurdity in the story, which would make the ending a perfect fit.

I’ll mention the links post on Henry Green and Loving since it contains several good descriptions of Green’s style
...more
Lisa Houlihan
May 07, 2013 Lisa Houlihan marked it as to-read
Of this volume, I read only Loving, which is tremendous. The other two titles are not on any of my blasted lists but if I can get through my next two bookclub books before this is due, I'll happily read Living and Party-Going as well.

It requires a lot of attention. It's told mostly in dialogue, and has dialogue tags, but if you don't pay attention to who said what how and to whom, all the time, you miss the tension and undercurrents. I went back and reread and rechecked a few times. Also, the s
...more
Alison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh
Of the three novels in this volume (which I bought on the strongest recommendation from a friend), I've read so far only the last one, Party-Going and part of the first one, Living.

Party-Going is a tremendous short novel, written in "real-time," it seems, the events of the novel unfolding during the two or three hours of a massive train delay caused by London fog. (The time is the 1930s.) I say "real time" because it seems that you could read the book in exactly as much time as elapses in the c
...more
SarahC
I have only completed the story "Loving" within this collection. These stories actually have more the pace and length of novellas. I was glad to be introduced to Henry Green with his odd, detached, often grim voice. His writing has a unique energy, which often bursts forth during subdued passages of the story. Much of "Loving" is told from the perspective of the "downstairs" inhabitants of an Anglo-Irish estate during World War II. Green is a writer who does not lamely explain things to the read ...more
L.P. Fergusson
I understand many of the reviewers who found Henry Green difficult but was irritated by Sebastian Faulks attitude in his introduction that 'Party Going, though it has proved a most fertile ground for critics and theorists of narrative, is the one that is most likely to be problematic to the non-academic reader' as if an 'ordinary' reader hasn't the application or intelligence to get through these three volumes.

Yes - they are hard work on one level, but that's only because they break modern conve
...more
Darran Mclaughlin
A little known, interesting and original writer. He has some things in common with Ronald Firbank, Ivy Compton-Burnett and Evelyn Waugh, but he is a very distinctive and original writer. His novels are written primarily in dialogue, and he is wonderful at writing in diferrent voices and dialects. He also writes about working class life with empathy and understanding, which makes him anomalous among Modernist writers and English novelists of the period. It is difficult to tell who his literary in ...more
carl  theaker


English servants in an English castle in Ireland during the early days of WWII. Though
Ireland is a neutral country the servants are as terrified over the IRA as a possible
German invasion.

I suspect it's supposed to be primarily humorous in that dry English way. There's
so much conversation that it slows down the reading.

There's all kinds of goings on, new butler takes over for dead butler testing the
loyalties of the old servants; a missing expensive broach sets in motion
machinations of the staff
...more
k
Not books that beg you to read them, though only minimally modernist. There's a grinding rhythm that's difficult to get used to, like nine to five. Rare, sudden moments of beauty and wonder. Thematically, class differences, which many reviewers allude to, seem secondary to issues of communication, on which Green takes a pessimistic though possibly accurate view. More than class differences, a deep understand, especially in Party Going, of the power of a sense of privilege, relevant today. The oc ...more
Jennifer
This book is really three different stories in one book. I had to force myself to finish the first story. There was no introductory character development or sense of place. I doubt if I will pick this one up again.
Eugenie
Jul 11, 2009 Eugenie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like Robert Altman movies, especially Gosford Park; fans of Sherwood Anderson
Recommended to Eugenie by: Claire Messud (Henry Green in general)
These novels proved to me that dialogue can be the main event and a source of joy. It probably helped that all the talking came with a British accent. The pacing was glacial and plot virtually nonexistent, but the tiny revelations of character, motivation, and the basic truths of what it means to be human were fascinating. Henry Green may be famous for his dialogue, but his talents for setting the scene and capturing gesture are equally great. One passage from Loving goes down in my notebook of ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jul 03, 2014 Elizabeth (Alaska) marked it as long-term-currently-reading  ·  review of another edition
Re: Loving

Hmmm - only 200 pages +/- and it took me 5 days? Must not be my sort of book, although I certainly expected it would be. I think there is far too much dialogue and far too little story-telling. I did enjoy the introduction by Sebastian Faulks. Loving itself actually got better as I neared the end, but I'm unlikely to be in a rush to read the other two in this collection. Two stars.

Baclofen Gliddon
Not bad, but not great either.
yumi
RE Loving: Oh Henry Green, where have you been all my life? (7/23/2011)

RE Living: Had trouble getting into this one, was too confused by the bunch of characters/dialect/lack of parts of sentenses. Had to start twice, but then it clicked, became headier as went on, latter-half especially rewarding.

RE Party Going: rather delightful and full of gems. (8/1/2013)
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Henry Green was the nom de plume of Henry Vincent Yorke.
More about Henry Green...
Loving Party Going Concluding Blindness Nothing

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