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The Judge

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  12 reviews
It was not because life was not good enough that Ellen Melville was crying as she sat by the window.
Paperback, 430 pages
Published July 10th 1980 by TRAFALGAR SQUARE + (first published 1922)
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Rebecca West’s 1922 second novel is much longer than her wonderful first novel; The Return of the Soldier. It is a complex, densely written novel with some breath-taking descriptions of Scottish and English landscape. It is also – I can see from other reviews – one capable of dividing opinion. I suspect it is that highly descriptive dense writing that some readers dislike, while others may find the highly dramatic melodrama of the end of the novel at odds with what had come before it.

“Ellen tho
Mummy's boy gets stabby.
Moral of the story - beautiful people are better, except when they're not mumsie.
Impossible to rate.

I thought this was a very interesting book although a failure as a novel. It really went off the rails at the end. Knowing a bit about West's life made the characters of Ellen and Marion interesting but as a writer, she really lost control of the material in the last third of the book.

I'm not sure I have ever read such beautiful descriptions of the natural world or a more truthful portrayal of the extreme emotions of motherhood.

In truth, the book scared me a little.
Somebody else's cup of tea, maybe. Rebelliously feminist for 1922, I suppose, if deliriously dreamy crush diaries may be said to fit in with suffragette boilerplate. But by turns too la-di-dah and then wordily lovey-dovey. Which is where I leave off. And that's right where I left it. See you on the barricades, sis.
This is an excellent study of Marion, whom some would say was a bad mother, but she was very complex. West gives many reasons for her acting and thinking as she does. No one was harder on her than herself. She tries repeatedly to overcome feelings that it seems unfortunately reasonable for her to have. Her failing, and that of Ellen the youngest character, was that they were mired in romantic thinking (and the restrictions of a sexually repressive society). Everything that didn't exemplify perfe ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Chrissie marked it as own-unread
Shelves: gutenberg, kindle
I want to read a novel by Rebecca West, since I adored Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. This I found free at Gutenberg. I really wonder if it is worth reading...... I would rather try The Return of the Soldier by West.

Thist was also the first time I have managed to get a Gutenberg book into my Kindle. YAY!
If it weren't for the subjective depictions of nature which pervaded throughout the book and which served as if an essential foreground on which the main characters' souls were reflected, vaguely, lonely, yet beautifully--- and not to mention the odd quality of the book as a whole-- I was gladly surprised.

This read is my first take on Rebecca West. And I must say that I look forward on discovering more of her works in the future.
This book started out as a suffragette's journey and ended up with the most bizarre series of events I can remember. Melodramatic to say the least.

I'll enjoy getting in on the Goodreads conversation. West's descriptions of nature are exquisite, though.

If I had to give stars it would be 3.5.
Allison C. McCulloch
Sep 01, 2013 Allison C. McCulloch marked it as to-read
I wrote this book down on a list a million years ago and have no idea what this is or what the context is of why I wanted to read it.
Joy Stephenson
This book has the worst excesses of Hardy and D.H. Lawrence without any of their redeeming features.
Alice Handley
One of those books where all the problems would be solved if the characters could just get a fricking grip.
Much difficulty with this one but in the end I admire it very much. Still processsing the ending.
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Virago Modern Cla...: The Judge by Rebecca West 32 27 Sep 07, 2013 01:20PM  
  • A Wreath of Roses
  • Frost in May
  • Invitation to the Waltz
  • Devoted Ladies
  • The Skin Chairs
  • L'uomo medievale
  • No Signposts in the Sea
  • Miss Mole (A Virago modern classic)
  • The Crowded Street
  • William - An Englishman
Cicely Isabel Fairfield (21 December 1892-15 March 1983), known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She reviewed books for The T ...more
More about Rebecca West...
The Return of the Soldier Black Lamb and Grey Falcon The Fountain Overflows The Birds Fall Down Cousin Rosamund (VMC)

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