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Crewe Train

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3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  52 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
On the death of her father, a retired clergyman, Denham Dobie is forced to leave her wild and carefree life in Spain and is thrust into the gossiping highbrow circle of her well-meaning relatives in London. Thrown into a world of publishers and writers, this awkward young woman—a tomboy and rebel at heart—sees their society for the self-absorbed, self-satisfied world it is ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published September 1926)
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Renate
Jan 10, 2011 Renate rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's always a treat to stumble across a book by an author I've never read before, only to open it up and discover that what's inside is magic. Rose Macaulay's writing is smart, understated, and deliriously funny in a saucily deadpan sort of way - she had me at the dedication (which I'd quote here but my mom has the book because it was so fabulous I needed to share it with someone pronto.) Denham, the truculent, self-reliant, laconic lead character, has to be one of my favorite female protagonist ...more
Ron
Mar 25, 2009 Ron rated it liked it
So, Denham Dobie is an awkward, poor relation from "down there" (one of those swarthy, southern places, in this case, Andorra) come to live with her swell relations in sparkling, early 20th century London. She doesn't seem to get it, and they her, and nary the two shall meet. The frisson between them is interesting, and told by Macaulay in a wonderfully trenchant prose. Dobie's constant questioning of the values, habits and conventions of proper society are alternately comical and tragic, and al ...more
Roberta
Jun 19, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, uk
Crewe Train fa riferimento a una ballata popolare inglese che recita:

“Oh, Mr. Porter, whatever shall I do?
I want to go to Birmingham, but they’ve sent me on to Crewe!”

e simboleggia la strada sbagliata che viene imboccata dalla protagonista, la giovane Denham Dobie. In realtà questa strada non è sbagliata in sé e per sé, ma è molto lontana dalle sue reali aspirazioni. Denham è la figlia di un pastore vedovo, in pensione, che ha lasciato il suo lavoro non per motivi di coscienza, come sostiene, ma
...more
Mrsgaskell
Dec 05, 2010 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, own, 8-star
Denham Dobie is the daughter of a widowed English clergyman who retired from his clerical duties due to his antisocial nature. They spent several years in Mallorca until they began to be drawn into local society and the English came.

“Here is one of the points about this planet which should be remembered; into every penetrable corner of it, and into most of the impenetrable corners, the English will penetrate. They are like that; born invaders. They cannot stay at home. So that even in the deser
...more
Deborah J
Mildly entertaining, and probably rather racy in its day. I guess the author was aiming to expose the shallowness of a certain London set, but it didn't ring quite true to me. I felt that she was too much part of what she was trying to mock, and the contrast between Denham and the relations she had to live with was rather crudely done. And the Cornish episode over-egged the argument. However, it is interesting to note that gossip never changes.
Carlton
Jan 23, 2016 Carlton rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This curious, dated novel set in the early 1920's is very much of its time and is set in chattering upper middle class London society. Although the main protagonist introduced into this society quickly rebels against it and the society seen as wasteful and unnecessarily formal, the characters are only drawn from this level of society, with housemaids and fishermen merely mentioned.

First published in 1926, not 1967 as detailed on the cover!
Douglas Dalrymple
May 24, 2012 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it
It’s not The Towers of Trebizond, but it’s still Rose Macaulay and therefore better than most. Really, Crewe Train is almost worth it for the dedication alone:

To THE PHILISTINES, THE BARBARIANS, THE UNSOCIABLE, And those who do not care to take any trouble.

What the book is about, finally, is the deplorably civilizing effects of love. You may hide yourself in perfect happiness in a hole in the ground, Macaulay tells us, but love will find some mean way to drive you out of it.
Monika
Jun 23, 2009 Monika rated it liked it
Denham is an interesting character. She struggles to be herself and live her life the way she wants to but finds that in the end, she must conform to the society that she has been placed into. Interesting perspective on 'high' society.
Caty
May 26, 2012 Caty rated it liked it
All I really have to say is that this book was good fun. I still have quite a weakness for that tiresome British drawing room novel thing, and this really makes the most of the genre.
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Emilie Rose Macaulay, whom Elizabeth Bowen called "one of the few writers of whom it may be said, she adorns our century," was born at Rugby, where her father was an assistant master. Descended on both sides from a long line of clerical ancestors, she felt Anglicanism was in her blood. Much of her childhood was spent in Varazze, near Genoa, and memories of Italy fill the early novels. The family r ...more
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