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The Late George Apley
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The Late George Apley

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,095 ratings  ·  53 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,673)
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Joy
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
Paul
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
KK
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
Agnes Mack
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
...more
Paula
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
Tamara
Sep 28, 2008 Tamara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
MB
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
...more
William
"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
Becky
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 that...to promote stability and inheritance.
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.
RJ
Mar 16, 2008 RJ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Benjamin Kahn
After a slow start, I got into it and really enjoyed this book. It has a gentle, dry wit to it that took some getting used to. I was expecting a broader satire along the lines of Babbitt, but this book is subtler, with a real love of its protagonist.

George Apley is of the sandwich generation, child of the generation that built the city that he loves and the fortune that sustains him, and father of the 'lost generation' that went off to war and came back filled with discontent at the old world.
...more
Bmchales
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.
Bill  Kerwin

This winner of the 1938 Pulitzer prize for fiction is a gently satirical and sociologically incisive portrait of George Apley, a Boston Brahmin born in the years immediately after the Civil War.
Dean
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.
Greg
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
Tim
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
Debbie
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
...more
Liz
Nov 18, 2008 Liz rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
...more
Ben
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
Mrsgaskell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janellyn51
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
Kelly
The Late George Apley won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1938. I'd never heard of it utnil I saw it a complete list of books that have won the Pulizter Prize for Fiction. The story tells the life of a n upper-class Bostonion George Apley who is so trapped and steeped in his aristocratic Boston environment, he can never get away from it. Even when he travels abroad - he's always staying at places or traveling with other people from Boston. He compares the monuments of Rome to what he knows in ...more
Marty
The latest of our Pulitzer Prize winning novels, this was certainly a change from the last, but equally entertaining. The author, through a series of letters and observations, describes the life and times of a member of the Boston 'aristocracy', and the pains the patriarch goes through to keep up the family image. The satire is subtle at times, flagrant at others - a very interesting book! Once again, very happy that we have started down this particular reading path!
Stephen
Moving book about a terribly constrained way of life now quite vanished. Deeper than a caricature. Somewhat satirical but done with affection, not mean-ness. Cf Forsyte Saga (though the Forsytes were newer money). Touching story of Apley's relationship with his children.
Ed Coker
This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Novel (1938). I read it in my early 30s and remembered it as a favorite for years often citing it in conversations as the epitome of a first person narrative in which the reader sees something that the narrator is unaware of. I recalled that the narrator eulogized his late Boston Brahman friend in the most positive terms whereas the reader perceived the deceased quite differently. Thirty years later, I insisted that my wife read it and was surprised to learn ...more
Richard Kramer
Or LIFE AMONG THE GOYIM. That being said, Marquand seems to have really known what he was talking about. I remember this book in my very proper grandmother's bookcase. It follows the life and career of the late Mr Apley himself, a very regular and unexciting member of the New England aristocracy whose soul, as exposed here in the form of remembrances gathered by a lifelong friend, turns out to be more complex than one would ever have guessed. This is a little masterpiece of irony, but for me it ...more
Terry
I have really enjoyed every book of Marquand’s that I’ve read. Although he wrote many books in the mid-Twentieth Century, in fact this book won him the Pulitzer, he’s pretty much forgotten. As the title implies, this is the story of George Apley, a rich Bostonian, told via letters from family and friends. It truly is a comment on Boston society, the end of the Victorian era, family and duty. A scene that pretty much sums up George Apley occurs when he’s planning a trip to Italy. He writes his co ...more
Stéphane
The life and times of a Boston Brahmin, George Apley, told after his death and on the request of his son for publication within the family cirle. The story is told mainly at the hand of his letters.
The book enjoyed a deserved huge success at the times and until the 60's and then was almost and undeservedly completely forgotten. Maybe because the book was too classic, a bit staid and conventional ? John Marquand got the Pulitze Price for this book in 1938, one year after Gone With the Wind and tw
...more
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Pulitzer Prize for Novel in 1938 for The Late George Apley
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“Some day you will know that there is a beauty of the soul that is more important than worldly beauty. Remember this when you see worldly beauty.” 5 likes
“The mood is on me to-night only becuase I have listened to several hours of intelligent conversation and I am not a very brilliant person. Sometimes here on Pequod Island and back again on Beacon Street, I have the most curious delusion that our world may be a little narrow. I cannot avoid the impression that something has gone out of it (what, I do not know), and that our little world moves in an orbit of its own, a gain one of those confounded circles, or possibly an ellipse. Do you suppose that it moves without any relation to anything else? That it is broken off from some greater planet like the moon? We talk of life, we talk of art, but do we actually know anything about either? Have any of us really lived? Sometimes I am not entirely sure; sometimes I am afraid that we are all amazing people, placed in an ancestral mould. There is no spring, there is no force. Of course you know better than this, you who plunge every day in the operating room of the Massachusetts General, into life itself. Come up here and tell me I am wrong.” 2 likes
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