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Tono Bungay

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  589 ratings  ·  101 reviews
And as I went along the embankment the first effect was all against my uncle. He shrank--for a little while he continued to shrink--in perspective until he was only a very small shabby little man in a dirty back street, sending off a few hundred bottles of rubbish to foolish buyers.
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Published by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1909)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,777)
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Nadya Yurinova
"А теперь каждый, если только у него не слишком высокие требования к
жизни и он не обременен чувством собственного достоинства, может позволить
себе кой-какие излишества. Ныне можно прожить всю жизнь кое-как, ничему
всерьез не отдаваясь, потворствуя своим прихотям и ни к чему себя не
принуждая, не испытав по-настоящему ни голода, ни страха, ни подлинной
страсти, не узнав ничего лучше и выше, чем судорога чувственного
наслаждения, и впервые ощутить изначальную суровую правду бытия лишь в
свой смертный ч
...more
James
This is Wells writing stylistically like Dickens in a mode of novel-writing that aims at the nineteenth century version of social justice (even though it was published at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century).
Today he is mainly remembered for his science fiction. "Tono Bungay" is an unusual work in that it straddles two of these genres: it is both science fiction and social commentary. The novel follows the rise and fall of an empire built on a quack medicine. The medicine, Tono
...more
Kim
"Tono-Bungay" is a novel written by H. G. Wells and published in 1909. It has been called "arguably his most artistic book." As for Wells himself he considered "Tono-Bungay as the finest and most finished novel upon the accepted lines" that he had "written or was ever likely to write." While reading the novel I also read a biography of Wells and found many interesting things about the author.

Although Wells was a prolific writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social c
...more
melanie
At times, I almost really liked this book for its criticism of consumer capitalism (for a book published in 1909, T-B feels ahead of its time in this respect) and the realness of some of the characters, but I got fed up with the narrator/author constantly explaining his own symbolism... not to mention his random anti-semitic remarks, his problematic relationship to women/marriage, and that especially disturbing Heart of Darkness voyage into Africa, where in a typical heart-of-darkness/Quap-fever ...more
Scarlett
only halfway through this one, but am loving it. once again a white male british protagonist (must read more women writers soon!), but the protagonist/author is incredible with writing descriptive detail. a great social commentary on class systems, industrialization in london, exploitation of the masses through marketing/advertising, etc. and an incredible vocabulary builder. SO many words i didn't know, but so well used i can discern their meaning contextually.

update: as with most satire, i "go
...more
Marts  (Thinker)
H.G. Wells' bit of a satirical look at the effects of wealth, power and enterprise on ordinary lives...
The tale follows the experiences of George Ponderevo who is 'encouraged' by his uncle to work with him on marketing a new product, a sort of 'miracle cure' thing, it also greatly expounds on George's experiences from childhood, to university, to the heart of London, then wealth, fame, his inventions and intentions, the uncle's eventual bankruptcy, and oh yes his various 'loves', etc, etc...
Elizabeth (Alaska)
A book often starts a bit slowly for me, but after 30 or 40 pages, I'll gather more interest. I did not expect this to be any different. Early, is this: I thought of my uncle as Teddy directly I saw him; there was something in his personal appearance that in the light of that memory phrased itself at once as Teddiness -- a certain Teddidity. Tedditity. Certainly I could look forward to more such imaginative phrasing.

Unfortunately, I never noticed another. I wonder if Wells got tired writing thi
...more
Apryl Anderson
(7.01.1994), This was such a sad story, but brilliantly written. Is this how Wells felt about his life?
His dealings with women were rather strange. Did he prefer them to be unpredictable? Seems that way; or was it that he knew that the best ones were just as intelligent as himself, therefore just as flighty?
I was disgusted with his excusing away an affair. It was his fault that he ruined his relationship with his wife. Why are men trained to think so differently about marriage? After the conqu
...more
Rebecca
This is a novel that deserves to be read more. Wells turns his sociologist's eye to the modern social structure and shows the absurdity and ruthlessness at the heart of modern society. A real novel of its moment, Tono-Bungay covers the opening days of modern advertising, the "bubble" and then the financial crash of 1908, exploitation of colonial mineral resources, the invention of airplanes, and a whole host of other things. If you thought Wells was only about science-fiction, give this book a t ...more
Maryann
I'm used to thinking of H.G. Wells as a fantasy/adventure author. I didn't know the story at all of Tono-Bungay and had no idea what to expect. This is not like his other books I have read and it shows a different side of Wells. This book is about humanity, love, commerce, social class, ingenuity, and growing up. There is a fair amount of philosophical musing, but always appropriate to the context of the character and the story and it never feels like an agenda. I'm very impressed by this book. ...more
Mel
Tono Bungay may be one of the silliest titles for a novel that HG Wells ever came up with but, so far it's my favorite of all the books of his that I've read. It's not a sci-fi story, Tono Bungay refers to a "medicine" that his uncle "invents" half way through the book and makes them all rich. But what this book is is a fascinating look at late Victorian, Edwardian culture in South East England. So many wonderful insights into how things were, and why they were that way.

When he gets to London th
...more
Mike Puma
I read this one before reading "'Tono-Bungay' and the Condition of England" in David Lodge's Language of Fiction: Essays in Criticism and Verbal Analysis of the English Novel; they're both good books. Not the kind of thing I was expecting from Wells
Lukas Evan
"I have called it 'Tono-Bungay,' but I had far better have called it 'Waste.'"
Herbert George Wells will also be associated with science-fiction (or scientific romances as he called them), a genre that he may not have invented, but created the blueprint for in his four major novels: "The War of the Worlds," "The Invisible Man," The Island of Dr. Moreau," and "The Time Machine." Yet Wells was much more than just a writer of sci-fi; he flirted with socialism and free love, he was politically active
...more
Frumenty
I took this up for some light relief during the reading of a long and serious novel in French which I am still reading. I wasn't disappointed. Wells held my attention without monopolising it to the detriment of my French reading.

Tono Bungay is the name of an elixir with no verifiable health value, but made immensely popular by clever marketing: today it would be called Red Bull. The narrator is the nephew of its inventor and promoter, and he goes along for the ride with his uncle from provincial
...more
Morgan
Honestly, I did not like Tono-Bungay in the least, but Wells clearly had something to say about society he just didn't get around to saying those things.

Sections of the book are incredibly long-winded. There are too many anecdotes that, in my opinion, do not contribute to the flow of the story or any major themes or motifs in the book. This is major flaw in the book. There isn't good flow. Tono-Bungay reads as if it is a combination of different stories. This can go two ways: the book can more a
...more
Anne Marie  (Wirth Cauchon) Spidahl
I liked this book alright. Maybe I'm not into bildungsromans? Except, ostensibly, for the Phenomenology of Spirit. Anyway, like Dickens's Bleak House Tono-Bungay takes one ridiculous element of society (the judicial system and quack medicine, respectively) as an opportunity to comment on other ridiculous elements of society: marriage, class stratification and/or mobility, materialism, etc. I like prismatic elements in books, so that was cool. But overall it seemed to be missing some crucial elem ...more
Arukiyomi
The last of Wells’ works that was on my tbr list for the 1001 books. Wells occasionally delights me, but, on the whole, though I do regard him a genius and a mind a century ahead of his time, his writing doesn’t really grab me too much. Tono-Bungay was just such a novel.

George is lured into working for his uncle who has concocted some potion that he is flogging off as a cure-all. It’s nothing of the sort though; as the business grows exponentially, like most things these days, rather than this d
...more
Mark
The book even states it is a waste. The only reason it's getting 2 stars is because of the unabashed discussion about religion/atheism and the grueling anecdotal description of how man's life can be wasted under a capitalistic system, as apposed to something better we humans should be using our brainpower devising... a product of socialism. I only wish Mr. Wells would have written this in a few pages instead of filling 4 hundreds of pages with mild filler.

This is another book from one of my favo
...more
Metaphorosis

reviews.metaphorosis.com

3.5 stars

George, is expelled from the manor his mother serves in, and bounces around until he lands with his uncle, a chemist. He departs again, but returns once his uncle develops a successful line of snake oil. Despite his qualms, George, a talented engineer, helps out with sales and development, and their fortunes grow.

I first read this many years, and liked it, though I also misremembered it as having something to do with a potion that caused floating (which seems to
...more
Kristel
Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells, published in 1908.

This is a semi autobiographical fiction work. The narrator, George Ponderevo calls it a novel. George is a young man from the working middle class. His mother is a servant in Bladesover. George is sent away to learn a trade after he upsets the household. The major story follows George in the home of his uncle Edward Ponderevo. At this time George is studying the sciences with the plan to become a pharmacist with his uncle. His uncle loses his busine
...more
Casey
I could not get into this story. I thought the narrator was very detached from the whole purpose of the novel, which is supposed to be a satire, or at least a commentary on the British businessman. I don't think there are really any profound statements that occurred and it made me think that Wells was attempting to write literature in the style of his contemporaries and didn't quite measure up.

I thought the romantic relationships were misplaced. They didn't seem to fit into plot well, almost lik
...more
Fiona Robson
“Presented as a miraculous cure-all, Tono-Bungay is in fact nothing other than a pleasant-tasting liquid with no positive effects. Nonetheless, when the young George Ponderevo is employed by his Uncle Edward to help market this ineffective medicine, he finds his life overwhelmed by its sudden success. Soon, the worthless substance is turned into a formidable fortune, as society becomes convinced of the merits of Tono-Bungay through a combination of skilled advertising and public credulity. As th ...more
Harry Rutherford
This is a novel narrated by a young man who is caught up in his uncle's meteoric rise from pharmacist to successful seller of quack medicines to captain of industry and financier, and then his fall from grace.

I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg on the basis that it was supposed to be a scathing satire on unfettered capitalism, advertising and modernity (as seen in 1909), and it is those things but it's not quite as focussed as that summary might suggest. There's quite a lot of conventional hu
...more
Gloria
My first time reading anything by HG Wells; would recommend this edition in particular, as I found Andrea Barrett's introduction quite helpful. (Actually, of the four books that I have read from the Modern Library Classic editions, the introductions all have been quite good.) I would recommend re-reading the "introduction" again after reading the book... her observations on the structure of the novel, the metaphors, etc. are very insightful, and helped me understand why, as a novel, it is truly ...more
George Alexander
In her biography of Joseph Conrad, Jocelyn Baines notes that “two men more different in outlook and temperament could scarcely be conceived” than Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells. For Conrad, artistic considerations were paramount in his writing, while Wells always considered himself a journalist, and favoured science above the arts. Conrad told Wells that the difference between them was fundamental:
“You don’t care for humanity but think they are to be improved. I love humanity but know they are not
...more
Eric
Very socialistic and depressing novel decrying mercantile opportunism. Yet the characters are interesting enough and the events created well enough that it was worth finishing. H.G. Wells, it turns out, was an ardent socialist in the time frame when socialism ideals were coalesced into the philosophies that swept Europe. This entire novel tells the philosophy from the other side, showing (rather artificially) how an idiot with nothing but brass can become incredibly rich by selling things to the ...more
J.
Everything in the box of tricks here would predict a success, a novel that goes airborne early and takes everyone reading along with it.

In turn of the century England, a housemaid's son in a great Manor House rises through era-typical adversity, deflects the worst of it and perseveres. Landing on his feet to find education in science (such as it was), love (in a few variations) and the ever-popular, endlessly entertaining, Ways Of The World.

The central moral conflict concerns the health-tonic
...more
Fungus Gnat
Sometime around 1875, a housekeeper on a large British estate decides she cannot handle her young son George any longer and sends him off to stay with this relative and that. The one he sticks with, his uncle, Edward Ponderevo, has plans for becoming “big people,” and after some education in London, George joins him there as the brains of his business enterprises. The rest of the story traces the rise of their fortunes, driven at first by the success of Tono-Bungay, a Coca-Cola-like drink sold a ...more
Stephanie "Jedigal"
I've always enjoyed Wells sci-fi, for which he's best known, but apparently that is just a small portion of his work. Read this one because its on the 1001 list. Can't say I understand WHY it is, though. If this is representative of Wells non-SF work, then I won't be reading any more of it. Just seemed very tedious. FAR FAR too long, some of the prose seems exceptionally nice but nice and flowery WITHOUT purpose...

Apparently anti-capitalism but doesn't make a great argument, rather is just pres
...more
Max
So goodreads reminds me that it’s taken over a year for me to finish this book. I guess that says a lot in and of itself. The book is a “classic” and is smartly written and insightful and satirical and relevant today (ostensibly about the marketing of a product that supposedly cures all, but in fact does nothing, yet people gobble it up around the world).

But I had trouble with its density, with long passages about family members and activities that I just couldn’t find the motivation to care abo
...more
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Boxall's 1001 Bo...: May {2013} Discussion -- TONO-BUNGAY by H.G. Wells 20 109 Jul 08, 2013 03:10AM  
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880695
In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government schol ...more
More about H.G. Wells...
The Time Machine The War of the Worlds The Invisible Man The Island of Dr. Moreau The Time Machine/The Invisible Man

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