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The Grim Smile of the Five Towns

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  52 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
THE GRIM SMILE OF THE FIVE TOWNS is a collection of short stories, based on the Potteries district of Staffordshire.
Paperback, 164 pages
Published November 5th 2008 by Serenity Publishers, LLC (first published 1907)
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Jakey Gee
Mar 08, 2016 Jakey Gee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Pure whimsy - which was a surprise to me (I'd been expecting 'Love on the Dole' level grit). It's really just comedy of manners, this, and has the proto-sitcom feel of the always marvellous 'Diary of a Nobody' crossed with Jerome K Jerome. in fact, like Three Men on a Boat, it even has a cheese anecdote (my favourite bit of T.M.I.A.B. is said cheese anecdote - it's one you can show anyone).

If you do have a Stoke interest it's worth being aware of, but it's all rather gentle otherwise. Not altog
Rob Blackmore
Jan 26, 2013 Rob Blackmore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been meaning to read some of Bennett's work, and rather than dive into one of his novels (Clayhanger etc), I thought I'd try some of his short stories; and this book is a collection of tales from 'The Five Towns' that forms the setting for much of his writing.

Although written over a century ago, Bennett's style is very readable. Some readers may find his use of North Staffordshire dialect jars a little (Yes, thou dost lad!), but I think it adds a touch of colour to his characters.

There ar
Mar 04, 2016 Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories about the five towns that now comprise Stoke-on-Trent (where Paul Wood is from). Plain but eloquent prose about plain but interesting people. The stories are much like those of Guy de Maupassant whom Arnold admired. Each story has a strange twist - like de Maupassant's "The necklace". After a while the reader becomes adept at anticipating the twist but the stories are delightful nonetheless. It was Paul wood who recommended the book and I read his copy while staying ...more
Sally Tarbox
Aug 31, 2011 Sally Tarbox rated it really liked it
really enjoyed these tales set in Potteries in late 19C- there's four stories about Vera Cheswardine, wealthy young bride who constantly overspends her allowance and resorts to subterfuge...then we meet Sir Jehoshaphat who hates the portrait he's been presented with, and tries to get rid of it...and poor, virtuous young Horace who accidentally injures little brother Sidney, and is in the latter's thrall for the rest of his life as a result...Very readable
Dec 29, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-read
Typical fare from the pen of Arnold Bennett in a series of stories, several of which feature the same married couple, and set in The Lotteries during the late 19th and early 20th century. These whimsical tales also contain dark humour, acerbic wit, great characterisation and excellent observation of human nature. They put me in mind of Dickensian at his most light-hearted and brief - certainly an easier read but no less enjoyable - 8/10.
Dec 17, 2015 Val rated it really liked it
This is a series of short stories set in the author's native Potteries towns, featuring the new wealthy, middle-class businessmen and occasionally a few workers. He wrote them after he had left the area, but they give a very good portrait of a time, place, people and social order, very different from London society.
Aug 12, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
Really enjoyed these stories.
It just shows the grim realities told with humour across the classes of society!
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Enoch Arnold Bennett (always known as Arnold Bennett) was one of the most remarkable literary figures of his time, a product of the English Potteries that he made famous as the Five Towns. Yet he could hardly wait to escape his home town, and he did so by the sheer force of his ambition to succeed as an author. In his time he turned his hand to every kind of writing, but he will be remembered for ...more
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