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Green Mansions

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,053 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
A failed revolutionary attempt drives the hero of Hudson's novel to seek refuge in the primeval forests of south-western Venezuela. There, in the `green mansion' of the title, Abel encounters the wood-nymph Rima, the last survivor of a mysterious aboriginal race. The love that flowers between them is soon overshadowed by cruelty & sorrow.
One of the acknowledged maste
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published 1916 by Modern Library (NY) (first published 1904)
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Abigail yes. It is a romantic tale with a tragic end but its stuff is clean.
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Aug 30, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-horror
Green Mansions: a Romance of the Tropical Forest (1904) is an exotic romance by W. H. Hudson (1841-1922) about a traveller to the Guyana jungle of southeastern Venezuela and his encounter with a forest dwelling girl named Rima. Hudson was born in Argentina, son of settlers of U.S. origin.
He spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier, publishing his ornithological work in Proceedings of the Royal Zoological So
Oct 29, 2009 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rose by: My husband
Shelves: classics
A nice romantic and unusual story set in Victorian era in the forests of Venzuela. Interesting narrative, a bit difficult to get into, however it's worth it if you are patient.

I am actually revising this review. After being done with this book after a few days, I realize that I am still thinking about it and when that happens, I need to re-evaluate my feelings.

I think I finally get this story. This is about nature vs man, Rima is our representation of nature. SHe is everything beautiful, innocen
Abel narrates a story about his mysterious past in the "green mansions" of the Venezuelan rainforest. When he was a young revolutionary, he had to go into hiding in an Indian village in the Parahuari Mountains. He went exploring in a nearby forest where the Indians refused to walk, fearing the presence of an evil spirit, the Daughter of the Didi. She was a half-wild girl named Rima who lived close to nature, hiding while singing with soft warbling sounds. "Again and again as I stood there listen ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I feel ambivalent about this book. I did finish it, and on the whole I'm glad I read it, but I'm not sure I'd say I liked it--it holds on to three stars by its toe nails. It's considered a minor classic, and it was a favorite book of someone I knew in high school. How many classics are loved and read (unassigned) by teenagers? It was a favorite of novelist John Galsworthy as well, who provided the introduction in the Project Gutenberg edition I downloaded--he ranks Hudson with Tolstoy and called ...more
W.M. Driscoll
When I was studying Jungian psychology, many years ago, I came across this book which hangs its narrative upon his "night journey" concept (a prevalent theme in books and films including Coppala's Apocalypse Now, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Oliver Stone's Platoon), that of a journey into the self personified by a physical reality, a jungle, dessert, cave etc. In this reality lies a shadow figure to be overcome/slain/or fallen to, representative of the hero's unrecognized unconscious, ...more
Oct 05, 2009 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you have never heard of the book Green Mansions and didn't know it was a classic, you're not alone. Neither did I before I saw it on my library's "We Recommend" table. It certainly looked old and, on a whim, I checked it out. After looking up the title on and Goodreads, I realized it was, indeed, a classic and thought I'd add a lesser known, or forgotten title to my list of twenty. You know, step outside the box. Maybe help shed some light on a great old book.

Well, classics are cl
May 20, 2016 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book has a pervasive and oppressive atmosphere of racism, which really bothered me throughout. The story starts slowly but builds. The most remarkable thing about the book is the growth of the main character Abel (with the exception of his intense racism which he never shakes in the least). In the end although I don't agree with all of the theology the final conclusion of the book is laudable even beautiful.
May 15, 2016 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, adult
This book definitely has flaws, plot holes and politically incorrect views compared to today, but I was intrigued with it and kept wanting to find out more!
As I've mentioned numerous times, I really, really like lists. I adore the satisfaction from crossing something off of a list. I hang out on List Challenges because I want to see myself in the top percentile of book readers (yes, I was a competitive student, too). Naturally, I really love those 1,001 books to read lists that are redone every few years. Many years ago (okay, like 10), before sites like List Challenges existed, I copied out all 1,001 books and printed them so I could physically cr ...more
Mikey B.
Jul 02, 2016 Mikey B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is definitely an odd story – and original, but not perfect (more on that later).

It is hard to categorize exactly where this work of fiction lies; maybe in the mystical realm. However, towards the end a hard gloomy aspect descends upon the narrative.

The story resolves around a man in his thirties, named Abel, who having to flee urban Venezuela for political reasons,hides in the jungles near the border of Guyana. His life is constantly shifting between that of a small indigenous tribe and a y
Apr 15, 2011 Ants rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my humble opinion, this book is great. True, story, fantasy, or other - the book can be interpreted in many ways. The individual passages are mesmerizing. One chapter take you away so the other chapters are forgotten. Initially, I just happened to stumble upon the book in a used book store somewhere. The used books stores are disappearing, hopefully this review will keep up the interest.


PS It was just as mystifying in a second read a few years ago.
I found this book to be slow and sometimes boring, but I really liked the end. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say I like what the main character has learned for himself by the last page.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2011 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classic fiction fans
Considered W H Hudson's masterpiece and promoted as an exotic romance, Green Mansions lived up to its reputation. An old man, Mr Abel, tells his tale to a close friend. Mr Abel, a Venezuelan, had become embroiled in a political plot to overthrow his government back when he was an unwise young man of twenty-three. The plot was discovered, forcing him to flee for his life. Consequently he spent some years wandering the jungle and living with savages.

Mr Abel met a mysterious young woman who besid
Jun 03, 2010 Garnette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
We have a RIMA in our book club. Her mother loved the book. A generation later, I loved the book. Now I am trying to remember why: evocative, imaginative, mysterious jungle flora and fauna. Big mistake to read it again. Racist, misogynist, ageist, disillusioning of a fond memory. Pedophile. Is this a spoiler?

No concept of liberation theology, the author was no Che Guevara or even William Beebe, the noted naturalist of the same time period (1904) or J.M. Barrie although clearly influenced by the
Apr 01, 2009 Colleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a unique book but somewhat sleep-inducing. It takes place in Venezuela and Guyana and since I read it soon after I was in Costa Rica I could really envision the rain forests and other scenery. The characters I was not as enamored of. Abel, who is condescending and racist, just liked to chase after nubile native women. I developed more respect for him by the end because of his devotion to his true love, Rima. Rima, on the other hand was too mystical to ever develop any affection for. All ...more
Oct 08, 2009 Diane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book 4 stars... out of the memory of loving this book as a child...

Rereading it... Ugh! What I saw in it back then is not what I see in it now. The protagonist is a self centered, pretentious... pedophile! At least that's what I get from it now. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood but I never got past halfway through... I just couldn't take it any more. I'm changing the stars to one, and wish I hadn't tampered with the memory of a book I once enjoyed.
I felt the first part of this book was a bit sluggish with him just wandering around in the forest. It began to get interesting to me when he met Rima and then the last five or six chapters were hard for me to put down. This book isn't perfect and I can see why it's an obscure classic, but I ended up really enjoying it.
Ann Klefstad
Apr 12, 2012 Ann Klefstad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those wonderfully quirky fictions that would never, ever be printed today. Worse luck. From the experience, years ago, of reading slush piles, I know that such books are around-- just not in print. Maybe the rise of ebooks will make them once again available, these eccentric and magic imaginings.
Aug 28, 2016 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction, romance
I thought Green Mansions was really sweet. It is a very nice story, despite being tragic. It is a "romance of the tropical forest," as Hudson put it. The protagonist, Abel, falls in love with a wood nymph named Rima but their love is brought to an end when it is overtaken by evil and sorrow.
Apr 28, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Taught this classic. My students did not know what to make of it. I think without the post-colonial theory applied to it, the book makes for very thin discussion.
This book held me in three ways. First it was slow. Second was exciting and magical. Third was heartbreaking and if the wording was not so wonderful I may have thrown it across the room. Because I don't wish to remember the heartbreaking part, I will only give account as to why I gave the book a good rating.

I want to start with the wording. Like I said earlier the wording was amazing. Beautiful, majestic, captivating, luscious, sumptuous... I could go on. The description of beauty within these a
Jan 25, 2015 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know if I like this book. It has its flaws for sure; still, there's something about it that has stuck with me for years. The vividness of the setting has kept me enraptured. Usually, the setting bores me. I quickly plow through all the description so I can move on to the characters and plot. Not here though; somehow Hudson mingles the characterization and setting so that they are woven into one. I experience the setting of Green Mansion with all my senses. The main character grows r ...more
Jun 26, 2014 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest” was a little slow to start, but once I made it past the first few chapters, I really saw the beauty of this book as the author described the tropical forest of Venezuela. Readers need to realize this book came out in 1904 and some of the attitudes would be offensive by today’s standards as the author touts the superiority of the white man compared to the native “savages”. If you can put aside any angst this might cause, I think you’ll enjoy the ...more
Harry Rutherford
I read a reference to this book on a birding blog —Hudson was a founding member of the RSPB and many of the earliest bird records for Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are thanks to him—and since it was available from Project Gutenberg, I was curious enough to download it and give it a try. Since it was described in that blog post as a rather daft Victorian romantic novel, I wasn't expecting much, but my curiosity was raised further by the introduction to the Gutenberg edition, written in 1915 by ...more
Well that was disappointing. This is a sort of supernatural romance, kinda, maybe preternatural would be more apt. Anyway its about a man who finds a forest in Guyana said by locals to be haunted. I can't say much more about it without spoiling the story, especially since there is so little plot.
I was really into it at first burning quickly through the first 9 or so chapters. It seemed really compelling, but after a while i realized the reason i was reading so quickly, was because of the thin
Jan 21, 2008 El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Abel, a wealthy young European, leaves Caracas after a failed political revolution and finds an Indian settlement in the jungles of Venezuala. While wandering the jungle he discovers a bird-like woman, Rima, with whom he ultimately falls in love, and her grandfather, Nuflo. As time passes Abel discovers more of Rima's secrets including her past and her ancestry, all of which put Abel at as much risk as it does Rima and her grandfather.

An interesting and visual location for a Victorian romance (w
I haven't read Green Mansions since 1969, and at the time, I was still thinking of it through the rosy spectacles of a an encounter with the movie, which I'd not seen since some years before as a young child at a drive-in! The move starred Audrey Hepburn as Rima, and included songs by the famous Yma Sumac. My mother adored the movie, and I retained her affection for it along with the great appeal of Audrey Hepburn combined with my youthful fascination for all of the Tarzan and Jungle Jim movies. ...more
Madness. Pure, madness...

I love classics, it's one of my favorites genres, but this book tested me. What starts off as an intriguing romp through the jungle, soon loses all momentum by the middle. The promised "romance" is really half a dozen chapters of playing hard to get, concluding in a less than satisfying ending. The boring bits could have been trimmed, the ending all but amputated. I feel guilty for saying this, but I could not wait for this book to end...

Good story (although it could hav
When I first read this book, I was strongy impressed by the description of the forest. It had little to do with my experience of forests (which were pine forests bordering forested wetlands). I remembered the forests long after I forgot any of the human characters.

When I reread the story, I was appalled by how small and isolated the forest was. A mere islet of relict forest isolated (and some ways insulated) by barren lands. I somehow missed that part. If I were to reread it again, I'd probably
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William Henry Hudson was an author, naturalist and ornithologist. He was born in the Quilmes Partido in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where he is considered to belong to the national literature as Guillermo Enrique Hudson, the Spanish version of his name. He spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier, publi ...more
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“This report inflamed my mind to such a degree that I could not rest by night or day for dreaming golden dreams, and considering how to get to that rich district, unknown to civilized men.” 1 likes
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