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The Late George Apley

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,711 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published August 29th 2011 by Nabu Press (first published 1937)
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Bill  Kerwin
Apr 11, 2008 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This winner of the 1938 Pulitzer prize for fiction is a gently satirical and sociologically savvy portrait of George Apley, a Boston Brahmin born in the years immediately after the American Civil War. He is rich and wellborn, the product of a haughty and insular culture, yet he wins the reader's admiration by growing--incrementally, authentically--into a man able to face the challenges of the 20th century.
Apr 23, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read this when I was in my twenties, thought it was the most boring thing I'd ever read. Now, in my eighties, I give it five stars. (Should be four and a half, but Goodreads doesn't seem to do things in halves) Does this book venerate the upper classes (esp Bostonian), or does it mock them? A little of each? I'd have to read more Marquand before I could check in on that. I laughed. Almost every page, I laughed. Surely this is an exercise in reading between the lines. And yet, the pass ...more
Aug 16, 2011 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boy, did this book deserve the Pulitzer Prize (late 1930s). It is a picture of Boston society in the early 1900s. George Apley is the patriarch of an old family. The book is a social satire and written to picture society in transition -- but I was very sympathetic to George, liking him very much. His sense of duty was greater than his 'love of life,' but I see that as rather noble. I saw a wealthy class, very exclusive and ingrown, but they looked out for each other and also provided for the 're ...more
Apr 30, 2012 KK rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is meant to have us question our values, confront our traditions, and reexamine conventional views in an effort to sort out that which is still good and challenge that which is, classist, racist, elitist, or simply ignorant. It does this by revealing the life of the late George Apley, a Bostonian at the turn of the 19th/20th century. George believed himself to be a good and responsible man, a leading citizen, a philanthropist, a dutiful husband, and father. Within this fiction (both th ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 03, 2015 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why doesn't the Library of America have a volume of John P Marquand novels? I remembered The Late George Apley as a very good book and this re-reading 50 years later confirms that. First-rate and not included in the definitive collection of American authors. That should be fixed.
Chris Gager
May 08, 2012 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now THIS is an old paperback(rescued of course) - 1944 - and in pretty good shape. Pocket Books' 258th selection and first printed in the same year. I'll start today/tonight.

Read the "intro" last night. This book is a novel masquerading as a biography/memoir.

Got into it a bit last night and I have to say that I like this book a lot. The overall tone is a bit detached and ... Bostonian, but there are plenty of chuckles and also a bit of abrupt sadness as well. It seems to be a spot-on accounting
Tracy Shapley
Aug 28, 2010 Tracy Shapley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
I've never been a huge fan of biographies. So it was to my extreme dismay (!) that I discovered The Late George Apley, winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was a fictionalized biography. Not to worry though, I ended up loving it!

The 'writer' (i.e. narrator) of this book is a man who was close friends with the late George Apley. When George dies, his children realize that they have never known him well, beyond the way they know him as a father. They asked the writer to prepare a biogra
Sep 23, 2013 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor George Apley - part of him wants to follow his heart, and not care what the rest of the world thinks of his choices; unfortunately, a larger part of him feels safer - and more righteous - following the rules set down by the society he has grown up in - upper-class Boston at the end of the 19th century. In this very enclosed world, there's not much room for maneuvering, and George generally finds it more comfortable to just make the same choices his ancestors have made,all in the name of doi ...more
Jul 23, 2008 Tamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pretty much everyone.
Recommended to Tamara by: Pulitzer
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
This was a really good book. I loved the beginning,but as George got a little older, his snobbishness (which he and his friends defiantly refused to acknowledge, and to quote Shakespeare, they protested too much)was annoying and overwhelming. The "do what is best for the family" attitude and don't try to be different advice he gave to his children was amusing, even though it was annoying as well, but integral to the portrait of George Apley. Keeping all gossip in the closet (which according to M ...more
Nov 01, 2010 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He dies in the end. Meanwhile, it made me feel like a voyeuristic Jew reading the life of a Bostonian aristocrat: I have always been faced from childhood by the obligation of convention, and all of these conventions have been made bu others, formed from the fabric of the past. In some way these have stepped in between me and life. I had to realize that they were designed to do just promote stability and inheritance.
Mar 16, 2008 RJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Constance and Melanie
This was on the staff pick table at the library, and since it was about Boston, I picked it up.

Can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. The portrait of the persons, place, and times were of great interest to me, and the prose was both accessible and erudite.

I will look for the author's other books.
Michael Thimsen
This was one of my top ten books of all time. I can't believe that this writer has mostly been forgotten. His sardonic wit and damning satirical viewpoint was remarkable. I feel like I have been the recipient of Mr. Apley's letters and I feel the same sort of pity that many characters in the book felt. It was brilliant. I loved it.
Sep 21, 2009 Bmchales rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why this ever won a Pulitzer I don't know. Humor so subtle and out of my sphere of reference as to pass right by this midwesterner. There was a movie made in the 1940's and the reviews of that are great -- I recommend renting it instead of reading the book.
Jan 07, 2012 Dean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tried reading this as a young man, many years ago. In discussing it with a friend, he suggested that since I was more mature, I might now enjoy it. He was right.
Feb 21, 2017 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1938 Pulitzer Prize winner
2nd book in Maine Humanities book discussion on the role love and Duty have on lives
A bit formal, but with understated humor.
Study of one of the Brahmin families of Boston Society from 1866-1933.
Very o yeresting.
Jun 09, 2014 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Late George Apley" is an elegantly written and slyly subtle exploration of the Boston Brahmin worldview in the first third of the Twentieth Century. I found Marquand's unusual structure effective. George Apley is seen through four perspectives: the friend who is writing his extended obituary, Apley himself, his son, and implicitly lurking in the background, Marquand. It seems to me that their approval of Apley descends in the order I have written them. Marquand has done it the hard way: "sh ...more
Natalie Tyler
The Late George Apley is a nicely nuanced and sophisticated novel of social criticism which uses a microscope rather than a bludgeon. Written by John P. Marquand in 1937 and winning the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for 1938, I would certainly call it a minor-major American classic. Or possible a major-minor American classic.

In fiction I like well-wrought characterization much more than eventful plot lines. I like the plot failures to be things like an unsuccessfully brewed cup of tea and the triump
Sep 04, 2015 Realini rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
The Late George Apley
Did not really enjoy it, but it is my fault

You can bet this book is really good.
But then I missed on all that…not totally, but most of it.
Having said that, a spoiler is in order for I am just thinking about this book here and what it meant to me.
But the lines that will be posted here do not have much, if anything to do with The Late George Apley.
I went to about 54% and gave up, not on account of any failure of the book, writing this seems preposterous-
- Look at me as I give
The subtitle for THE LATE GEORGE APLEY is A NOVEL IN THE FORM OF A MEMOIR, and so, rather than a traditional, and likely less effective, approach, author John Marquand makes use of supposed correspondence between the main character and his family and of public records to tell the biography of George Apley, a member of Boston aristocracy and Beacon Hill resident. The unnamed narrator, a professed friend of George's, gives a eulogy at one of the many clubs that George had been a member of--afterwa ...more
Uthpala Dassanayake
The novel is composed as a memoir put together by a friend after the person in concern passed away using letters he sent or received. A good approach, but I don’t see the execution as much of a success. Constrained by the chosen approach, the author is forced to put protagonist’s all thoughts and feelings into letters he writes. This has made the character really absurd.
The book gives a good portrait on upper class life in US during early 20th century. One thing ncely presented is that first gi
Jeremy Hickerson
This amazing book succeeds in taking you into the world of those born into privilege, getting you to appreciate their unique contribution to society, and making you actually feel sorry for them because of the life-long responsibility they cannot escape.

Marquand tells his story by presenting excerpts from the papers of the just-deceased title character; mostly in the form of correspondence. We are told about the powerful Yankee family he represents and learn quite a bit about his highly successfu
Sep 13, 2010 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 8-star
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 28, 2011 Janellyn51 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really did enjoy this book. I've lived in and around Boston for a long long time now. George...George is a guy who can't decide whether he's beleguered by his place in society or whether he thinks there really is something to being born into priveledge, and the responsibility you have to have to carry yourself in a manner representative of that privelege. More than that, George is raising his children at a time when things, social mores, are changing fast and furiously. I think that George try ...more
Aug 26, 2010 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had been wanting to read this from many years ago when I remember that there was a movie by the same name (Ronald Coleman in the title role) and I thought the title was intriguing. WELL. ran across this book (1944 edition, hardbound) at a book sale several years ago, just now got around to reading it. This tells the life story of an upper-class Boston family around the turn of the (20th) Century, in the person of George, heir to a wealthy mills works in Boston. The book shows what Society Bost ...more
Nov 20, 2014 M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the first 25 or so pages of this wonderful novel, I didn't know what to expect. In truth, I felt a little negative. Why was I reading a book about a man who seemed to be a fusty Boston Brahmin? As much as I love Boston, I don't have much patience with those for whom Harvard (and certain clubs, and the Athenaeum, and so on) are the center of the universe. And they were certainly at the center of George Apley's universe.

As I read on, I was hooked, despite myself, on the story of this upright a
Jul 29, 2015 Godlarvae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A most charming, engaging novel that is so much more than the mainline reviewers noted. Here is a family story is set to more or less mimic an eternal theme/human condition as did "Fiddler on the Roof". . . chronicling Tevyas's anguish as his family strays further and further from "tradition".
There are four human elements in "Fiddler" as there are in "George Apley" . . . while chronologically more immediate in "Fiddler", "George's" is spread over four generations.
Elements include love of family
The structure of the book, a series of letters interspersed with comments by a fictional editor is certainly unique. The picture of George Apley is painted with a brush partially filled with various colors of paint, giving an imperfect image. One has the sense that much is not known about George Apley as he tried rebelling against what was expected of him and how he was pulled around to "do the right" thing in late 1800's Boston.

In a large part, I found the work boring. I kept waiting for some
Oct 01, 2013 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
Pulitzer 1938 - The Late George Apley is a novel in the form of a memoir in a true sense of the word. It is written largely through correspondence between George himself and various family members and written by a family friend. In this way Marquand created Apley - his thoughts and morality as he grew up and lived in Boston. It's a great look into Boston in the late 1800s among the upper class there. Really this is the story of a prior generation watching the changes as they grow old and the fai ...more
May 28, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This drama is the stage version of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name written solely by John P. Marquand. The novel is written as a memoir of an upper class Bostonian, and the play is written from a different perspective. The story, however, is nearly the same. The play is quite funny, and the stereotypes explored amongst Boston high society never fully become caricature. I love in particular the conversation between Emily, Amelia and Lydia about a man named Sonny Walker who, whil ...more
Nov 18, 2008 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only some
Recommended to Liz by: book store owner
This book was recommended to me by a used book store owner in Manchester, Massachusetts. I had asked him for some books to read about Boston and the life in New England, and he pulled this one off the shelves. It won the Pullitzer prize for literature in 1938. Although somewhat stilted in language, and therefore not too easy to keep the reader's attention (at least mine), the book gave a great insight into the life of a certain type of Bostonian at the turn of the century. There is satire betwee ...more
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Pulitzer Prize for Novel in 1938 for The Late George Apley
More about John P. Marquand...

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