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Friends and Relations (Vintage Classics)

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Paperback, Vintage Classics, 159 pages
Published June 3rd 1999 by Vintage (first published 1931)
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J.
"Today proved to be one of those weekdays, vacant, utterly without character, when some moral fort of a lifetime is abandoned calmly, almost idly, without the slightest assault from circumstance. So religions are changed, celibacy relinquished, marriages broken up, or there occurs a first large breach with personal honor ..."
Author Elizabeth Bowen is young (though hardly new), insightful, ambitious and completely in love with what words can do, in this dense little volume. The effort is valian
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Eileen
Mmph. I think that early to midcentury social novels are starting to wear thin on me. This was a well done book, but I didn't find it that interesting.

Analysis: Marry people because you love them, not because you love someone else and they marry your sister and you don't know what to do and so you marry someone else, especially someone else who is related to some dude who once had an affair with your brotherinlaw's mother, who then left and lived in France for years. If you do, and there are is
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Sweetmongoose
Elizabeth Bowen’s writing is by turns luminescent, impenetrable, and marvelously precise. I love her insightful observations on small occurrences in the course of a human being’s day. I am fascinated by the structures of her novels – this one starts with 2 weddings (one for each sister) which take place some months apart and then moves in section 2 to 10 years later and the events of one intense week. The final section focuses on 1 day a few weeks later with a final chapter which pulls out for a ...more
Ellen
What a fabulous read! An interesting story about the relationships between two sisters and their husbands, which demonstrates the difficulties in maintaining open and honest relationships among people who are very different from one another. Written in Bowen's flowing style, the book carries the reader through the rise and fall of emotions stirred in the sisters as things seemingly go awry. I'd recommend this book to any readers who enjoy subtlety and intricacy in their fiction.
Cera
I know I enjoyed this novel because I kept reading it, eager to find out what would become of Janet and Laurel and Edward and Rodney, not to mention the horrible Theodora. It was very evocative, leaving me with lots of fully realised moments in space -- a walk across a lawn, a sitting room with sun coming in, a dark bedroom at night. Bowen's prose is somewhat experimental (at least to me), with odd turns of phrase, fragmented sentences, peculiar metaphors. It works; I was imaginatively transport ...more
Leif
A slow burn, but much more accomplished than Bowen's earliest work, if not with the dramatic flair possessed by The Last September, her previous novel. Here the consequences of life are traced out through multiply interlocking couples of unhappy lovers and the message seems to be: marry carefully, and when you do, marry well.
Kate
The prose is elegant but except for Theodora (whom I found engagingly bratty) the character development was oh so bland. More than half-way through, I still had to forcibly remind myself which of the two young men Laurel was married to and which Janet was married to.
I usually love a good "tea-drinking" novel, but this wasn't it. Barbara Pym may be less "literary," but oh so much more enjoyable.
Eve
After a five-book tryst with Nancy Mitford I was hoping Elizabeth Bowen would be as much fun to get in bed with. But this book was a bit like a tea sandwich, cold, bland and unsatisfying. There was nary a sentence worth remembering. As a whole, it was unsatisfying as the love affairs it bloodlessly depicted.
Eve
After a five-book tryst with Nancy Mitford I was hoping Elizabeth Bowen would be as much fun to get in bed with. But this book was a bit like a tea sandwich, cold, bland and unsatisfying. There was nary a sentence worth remembering. As a whole, it was unsatisfying as the love affairs it bloodlessly depicted.
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52578
Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen, CBE was an Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer.
More about Elizabeth Bowen...
The Death of the Heart The Last September The House in Paris The Heat of the Day Eva Trout

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