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The Caravaneers
Elizabeth von Arnim
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The Caravaneers

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  95 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
When Baron Otto Von Ottringe, a pompous Prussian, and his wife, Edelgard, begin a camping holiday in Southern England, he is unprepared for the English culture and the changes it causes in his wife's behavior.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 1st 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1909)
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Pick the person in your personal life who annoys and angers you the most and imagine writing a novel exclusively from their perspective. E.V.A. seems to have done exactly that (wasn't she unhappily married to a German Count?). It seems more than likely this novel came of that relationship - certainly this was a character type she knew through and through. Her narration of Otto's inner life is amazing - she had me laughing so hard at times, but as the story unfolds, the humour (for me) lessens, b ...more
Aug 02, 2007 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read Elizabeth van Arnim after seeing the romantic comedy film Enchanted April, based on her novel of that name. The Caravaners is along the same line -- a variety of English people uprooted from their normal hum-drum existence, in this case going on a caravaning holiday. There's romance, lyricism, and sly humor in this book.
June Geiger
Jan 03, 2016 June Geiger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh joyful jocosity! Enchanted Solitary German Garden Elizabeth, a high priestess of lampoon??? Patron saint of satire? Matron of mordant wit?? Yes, on every page YES!!! Was she friendsies with Oscar Wilde? Because here, in the years directly following his death, she takes on first-person male so acerbically, so glibly, so BRILLIANTLY it's as if she channeled that dearest deviant. An out-and-out outlandish delight.
May 06, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I ever read by Elizabeth, and mainly the reason I fell in love with her work. I found a price-slashed copy of the Virago edition at one of those fly-by-night remainder bookstores and picked it up for a dollar, on a whim, knowing nothing about the author or the book.

The author (Elizabeth) was married to a German count for quite a long time, and she really knows the inside of his head. This is a first-person narrative from the point of view of a stuffy man who goes on a car
Jaclyn Reding
Aug 26, 2012 Jaclyn Reding rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that this book was written a century ago, its message - its not so subtle message, that is - still rings true today. Baron Otto could (and still does) live in his own world. And how clever the author was for having told the entire story from his small-minded, self-indulgent viewpoint. We all know a Baron Otto and the tongue-in-cheek way in which the author told his story is as brilliant now as it was 100 years ago.

How I wish I could sit down to tea with Ms. Von Arnim. Somehow,
Colin Fisher
Oct 07, 2014 Colin Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Making fun of the Germans: it's what we do best.
Mary Ward
Oct 14, 2014 Mary Ward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The more I read Elizabeth von Arnim, well, she is quickly becoming a number 1 favorite author. I do have more than one in this category, yet it takes a lot to make it.
This is book is so tongue in cheek, written from the German husband's point of view, who is so utterly convinced he is correct, he cannot ever even think he is at fault.
The worse HE becomes, the more he himself becomes stronger in his beliefs.
It is screamingly funny.
I continue to read through her books, now on The Pastor's wife, a
Victoria Jackson
Very humorous and detailed account of group of English and German wealthy individuals "slumming it" in a horse drawn caravan through the roads of Kent. The German count is particularly good at hiding food from the others and shirking his part of the duties. They have to find places to sleep and forgo the comforts they are used to. Some deal with it better than the others. Quite cruel in some descriptions.
This was extremely dated in cultural references and rather passe. For her time it must have been quite the sensation. I did appreciate all the references to caravanning which seems to translate to contemporary RVing. Rather hilarious actually. But I must say that it was tiresome listening to so much negativity directed to the husband's wife - although I realize that was the point of it all - it was hard to keep my interest going. But all in all it was good and there were some surprised for sure.
Sep 13, 2008 Juliann rated it liked it
Elizabeth von Arnim is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She is so witty and her style is so enjoyable. The first book of hers I read was Elizabeth's Adventures in Rugen. This book has a similar theme, but is much more satirical and politically charged than her other books. It's a good look at the differences between Germany and England before WWI, and also a frank look at the status of women before that war- very interesting read.
Oct 13, 2011 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early modernist novel. A group of English upper class people take a caravanning trip along with a pompous German aristocrat. Very much of it time but an interesting glimpse of pre war attitudes.
Mrs Roscoe
May 22, 2013 Mrs Roscoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books that I have had to put down so I can properly laugh. The characters are so cleverly drawn and the dramatic irony keeps the story developing.
Dec 02, 2009 Judy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
IT was so bad I couldn't even finish it. That is saying a lot if I cannot even make myself finish the book.
Quietly amusing.
Oct 31, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim.

Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in New Zealand while her family resided in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I
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