Pastors and Masters
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Pastors and Masters

3.08 of 5 stars 3.08  ·  rating details  ·  38 ratings  ·  11 reviews
"The sight of duty does make one shiver," said Miss Herrick. "The actual doing of it would kill one, I think."

Ever anxious to keep up appearances, self-avowed intellectual and scholar Nicholas Herrick knows that to involve himself in the running of his own school would be a condescension too far. Assembling around himself a cast of fittingly fawning friends and aides, he...more
Paperback, 100 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Hesperus Press (first published 1925)
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Nov 22, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Already converted ICB fans
Pastors and Masters is better described as a novella than a full blown novel (in my edition it comes in at a scant 96 pages). It’s Ivy Compton-Burnett’s (ICB) second, and the first to use her signature style of minimal description, maximal dialog. As such, she’s still mastering the technique so the novel fails at a couple of levels:

(1) It is hard at times to follow what’s happening even if you’re paying close attention to the text.

(2) ICB introduces too many characters and situations to adequate...more
I have to say that I have no idea what this book is about. I barely know what happened, let alone what was discussed. This story is mostly dialogue, if you can call it that...more like verbal sparring, a constant back and forth with nuanced word play with innuendoes and more than a touch of sarcasm. I obviously can't write a review with any meaning wince I found it so difficult to follow. That being said, I didn't even hate it (although the fact that it is the length of a novella didn't hurt). D...more
Ivy Compton-Burnett's style is very severe and hard-to-follow sometimes (I had to start by writing down the names & relationships of all the characters to keep up with the dialogue-driven style of her writing) but worth it for both the wonderfully evil bon mots embedded therein (and they come quick and fast in her books) and the more poignant meditations on the nature of people and their relationships to each other, to life, and duty.

If you watch Downton Abbey primarily for Maggie Smith's i...more
I received this little novel from the Librarything early reviewers scheme. I was interested in reading a Compton-Burnett novel, as I recently read a biography about the novelist Elizabeth Taylor, and Compton-Burnett was a good friend of hers, and was referred to in the book a great deal.
In the forward to the novel, Sue Townsend suggests that readers might find it a hard read at times, that Compton-Burnett's style takes some getting used to. The novel is written almost completely in dialogue. I...more
It was hard to follow at times because it is mostly dialogue. She often didn't write what was happening in the scene and made you guess through what people where saying. A couple of times people would have left the "room" and I would only know when they came back and someone commented on them returning. Also, because it was mostly dialogue I had a hard time "getting to know" the characters. Most of them I feel like I don't know at all. But I guess they weren't that important to the story anyway....more
I got through most of chapter 5 before I put this one down. I don't like to quit reading a book, but I just can't get into this one. The book is mostly dialog, with scant narrative. There are so many characters it can become difficult at times to keep track of them, or what part they play in the plot. I would like to revisit this book again sometime, but right now I'm finding it difficult to stay interested.
I enjoyed this book, but as another reviewer noted, it was a little hard to follow in spots. I think I may need to re-read it sometime in order to have another exposure to those places that got confusing.

I loved the character of Emily Herrick; I thought she was hilarious.
Feb 07, 2014 Bd rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
This book is extraordinary, literally mind blowing. Unfortunately the mind isnt blown until after the book is fully read, and it is a challenging read. I hope to read this book another 20 times before I die.
Ivy Compton-Burnett may be an acquired taste ... you have to not mind that the books are 90% dialogue. In this case it's a short but very witty visit to a third-rate boys' school.
Ashley Lindsay
Must be the most unique style of writing I've ever encountered. Brilliant subtlety combined with uncommon wit made for a very entertaining, and challenging, read.
Ezgi Bilir
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Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, DBE was an English novelist, published (in the original hardback editions) as I. Compton-Burnett. She was awarded the 1955 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her novel Mother and Son.
More about Ivy Compton-Burnett...
A House and Its Head Manservant and Maidservant The Present and the Past A God and His Gifts A Family and a Fortune

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