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A Man of Parts

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  739 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
'The mind is a time machine that travels backwards in memory and forwards in prophecy, but he has done with prophecy now...'

Sequestered in his blitz-battered Regent's Park house in 1944, the ailing Herbert George Wells, 'H.G.' to his family and friends, looks back on a life crowded with incident, books, and women. Has it been a success or a failure? Once he was the most fa
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published March 31st 2011 by Harvill Secker (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,587)
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Nov 19, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Slut who wants to read of a kindred spirit
Recommended to Mark by: Bookclub
H G Wells you are a slut, an excellent writer but an unadulterated slut....though perhaps any conjunction of the prefix un and any word in the slightest bit similar to adultery is not appropriate as far as you are concerned.

The book is a fascinating read and Lodge has written a really clever dissection of the man's talent and lifestyle and uses the device of Wells arguing with himself over his behaviour and the highs and lows of his literary output to move the story into a different dimension.

Dec 22, 2012 Shane rated it really liked it
H.G. Wells is described as a comet that arrived out of obscurity in the late 19th century, blazed over the literary firmament for the next few decades and then faded away, perhaps to return sometime in the future.

A brilliant futurist who foresaw events like the World Wars (he saw only one, occurring in the 1950’s), World Government (the United Nations and its predecessor, the League of Nations), the birth of Socialism, and air power that would globalize warfare. Born to humble origins, he became
Dec 15, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it
[3.5 really, but I'm in a generous mood, so I'm rounding up today]

It was David Lodge who observed that 'literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children and real life is the other way around'. If Lodge is to believed, HG Wells' life had more than it's fair share of both.

Being only dimly familiar with Wells' work (I read 'The Time Machine' when I was about 12, and like many others, was introduced to The War of The Worlds via Jeff Wayne's musical, which my Dad had on a C90
Feb 02, 2012 Dan rated it liked it
man of many parts and many conquests
“A Man of Parts” is a big, nervy book of more than 550 pages devoted to H. G. Wells, a writer not too much remembered in America except for his two Saturday afternoon entertainments “War of the Worlds” and “Time Machine.” Nervy because David Lodge’s decision to devote a big chunk of his own life researching and writing about Wells was risky. Very risky. Would his subject be compelling enough to attract sufficient interest to make the effort worthwhile? The ans
Feb 08, 2012 Stela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies, reviews
Well, it was interesting - this second biography I've read, and it seems it establishes a pattern of how Lodge thinks a biography should be written.
First of all, the idea around which the main character is built: in Author! Author! it was the secret ambition of Henry James to become a famous playwright; here, - the women who defined different parts of Wells.
The narrative construction is also similar: both books begin and end with the last moments of the writers.
We can add the creation of an im
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
la guerra al principio borghese di proprietà sentimental/sessuale

bio di H.G.Wells molto accurata e scritta con un bel tocco lieve, riesce ad avvincere anche il lettore più riluttante a infilarsi, oltre che nella mente rutilante di invenzioni, anche nella stanza da letto del celebre H.G., famoso socialista, promulgatore del Libero Amore ma solo per gli uomini, forse femminista, ma di sicuro donnaiolo e grande anticipatore delle politiche sociali e delle derive militariste, certo un personaggio af
Aug 06, 2011 Alex rated it it was ok
There is a huge relief in having finished this. For a week and a half (with two books and a hundred pages of short stories in between) I slogged it out with Lodge, trying to figure out what his intention was, whether he had a central thesis in his meandering account of H.G. Wells' life. Turns out he didn't. This novel is actually a fairly straightforward and dry biography of Wells given some of the trimmings of a novel.

Wells basically writes books of varying success and feasibility, while entert
Andrew McClarnon
Nov 05, 2012 Andrew McClarnon rated it liked it
I was looking forward to reading this having enjoyed 'Author Author' (and indeed all the other David Lodge books I've read in the past), and having had a teenage fondness for HG Wells's science fiction stories.

The book was like a great big, cosy sofa of a read, a bit overstuffed in parts, but somewhere to settle down and put your feet up. Yes there were a few moments of ennui, after all this was a long life with a certain repetative theme, but the writing was direct, well paced and painted in th
Lorri Steinbacher
This book did not read like a novel and that was not necessarily a good thing. I feel like I learned a lot about things I did not know and introduced me to another side of H.G. Wells, but it was not very compelling and I had to pep talk my way through it. I came away feeling that for all Wells' talk about sexual liberation for women that it was all lip service because the second that the "liberation" became troublesome for him or threatened to disturb his comfortable status quo, he encouraged th ...more
Carl Rollyson
Aug 10, 2012 Carl Rollyson rated it it was ok
H. G. Wells (1866–1946) is one of those protean modern writers who are destined to last, no matter how critics lament his slapdash prose or deplore his involvement in dubious movements such as eugenics and Fabian socialism. Not even the ire of feminists can ultimately bring down this “womanizing” colossus of concepts and causes and books (he penned more than a hundred of them), not to mention the biographies and critical studies that continue to pullulate around this seminal figure.

Wells was tru
Feb 24, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
Fairly lengthy book but a rewarding read. David Lodge has cleverly and thoroughly presented his 'interview' with H G Wells amongst a narrative thread of Well's entire life.

At times I felt like I was going through the same cycles of events but this is because Wells was not only a prolific writer but also a lover of women - many women at that. The descriptions of each of his novels as he writes them are usually twined with his latest liaison or love affair. He practised free love during a long se
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
What I love about historical fiction is that the past is given color and brought to life in a way that feels real, that invites me to see myself and my own life in the actions and events of the characters -- or, forces me to examine my own assumptions and biases (more on that later).

This was my first David Lodge novel so I didn't know what to expect; I've long wanted to read his take on Henry James but haven't gotten to it (someday, someday). This novel, centered on H.G. Wells, covers my favorit
Silvio Curtis
Aug 19, 2014 Silvio Curtis rated it it was ok
A novel about H. G. Wells' sex life. He sometimes claims his ideal is uncomplicated pleasure, but what gets most page space are attempts at a sort of polyamory, sentimental enough to be plenty complicated, but the complications are entirely self-generated and generally don't threaten to be disastrous to anybody. Those parts were some of the most boring stuff I've read in years. For a hundred and fifty pages or so Wells is part of the Fabian Society, an extremely non-revolutionary socialist group ...more
Marcus Speh
Mar 26, 2011 Marcus Speh rated it really liked it
picked this up a few days ago and been reading it ever since. starts a little slowly but my reading is helped along by the fascination for the subject matter of this book, the writer h g wells. the novel is an odd mixture, attractive to me, of literary criticism, memoir and story. in many places i found the wit that i so love about lodge's writing. enjoying this. will continue/finish review when i'm done.
Sep 20, 2015 Tessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai lu plusieurs romans de David Lodge. J'aime son humour tellement britannique! Et c'est la raison pour laquelle j'ai acquis ce livre bien qu'il s'agisse d'une biographie plutôt que d'un roman.

Je n'ai pas retrouvé le "ton" qui me plaît tant chez cet auteur. Le sujet ne s'y prêtait pas. Au niveau de la forme, l'auteur nous propose un mélange de récits dans un "présent" d'après-guerre qui culminent avec le décès de Wells et de retour en arrière, agrémentés de séquences de soliloques où le sujet
Agnes Fontana
Qui l'eut dit ? Qui eût dit que, moi qui me jetais sur le nouveau Lodge comme sur le nouveau Woody Allen à l'époque, j'en laisserais un mariner deux ans avant que de le lire, et lui donnerais poussivement deux étoiles ? Ce livre retrace la vie de l'écrivain anglais HG Welles, essentiellement sous l'angle de ses relations avec les femmes. Celles-ci sont placées sous le signe de la goujaterie et du consumérisme, maquillés en théorie de la libération sexuelle (libération à sens unique comme souvent ...more
Jean-marc Depreux
Dec 08, 2012 Jean-marc Depreux rated it really liked it
Yes I can say that I really liked "A Man of Parts", it was the first time that I read a book by David Lodge and although it doesn't quite situate itself as a novel, it reads much easier than a real biography. There seems to be a new trend these days for writers to write biographies in a novelistic manner, like Jéromine Pasteur with her new book "Les Femmes Oiseaux", I think this is a good thing as it's an easier way of learning about things or people. But to get back to David Lodge's achievement ...more
False Millennium
The only reason I starred this as "liked" was because it was well researched and well written. I wish he had called it "A Man Controlled by His Lust," or "A Man and His Penis," or "Man and Superpenis," or....well, you get the drift. What a cad. And what a ragtag of women trailing behind him and his sperm comet. Took advantage? Yes. Sometimes of innoncence, sometimes mutual. One thing I noted that I didn't know. He carried out some of his seductions on a Square I used to live in London. I'm not e ...more
Bookkaholic Magazine
(See our full review over at Bookkaholic.) A thorough fictional biography of H.G. Wells (1886 to 1946). Wells had contact with the late Victorians (such as Thomas Huxley, who taught him the sciences), lived through both World Wars (even anticipating some of the technological innovations thereof), and saw many developments such as the women’s movement and socialism. The number and variety of his sexual conquests makes for a gossipy, confessional narrative.
Feb 08, 2013 Peterhxn rated it really liked it
Very interesting book, I had never really read a book before that is a kind of biography but written in the style of a novel. Not only did I find it very nice to read, but I also found it really interesting to learn more about the life of a once prominent writer in English literature, in this 'playful' way. I admit I would have never really thought about finding out more about H.G. Wells' life otherwise, but reading David Lodge's book sure made it look like an interesting life, and inspired me t ...more
Penelope Irving
Apr 01, 2014 Penelope Irving rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of some of David Lodge's work, but he's tried a lot of different fictional formats in his career, and not all of them appeal to me as much as others. I couldn't get through his semi-fictionalised biography of Henry James (an author whose work is, anyway, the antithesis of everything I enjoy in novels), and this is another one, about H.G. Wells.

I admit I might have given up on this one too if I hadn't been listening to it in audio book format, but I persisted through the first fai
A Man of Parts is a fictionalised biography of H. G. Wells, and, while I wouldn't say that it triumphs as either fiction or biography, it's certainly a fascinating and revealing study of a larger than life character. I've realised that I knew next to nothing about Wells, and David Lodge's novel has undoubtedly changed that; Wells was possessed of enormous sexual and intellectual energy and packed a great deal of everything into his long life. He seems to have had affairs with just about every fa ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Richard rated it it was ok
An enjoyable book, if a bit long. Suffers from not quite distinguishing between autobiography and fiction; a good read at times, at others like reading a student thesis on H G |Wells. He (Wells) emerges, for me, as a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work - if he was a feminist, God help women!.....he seems only to have been interested in getting his end away, cloaked as a belief in 'Free Love' blokes know better....
Sep 25, 2015 Chasc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Had never read any of HG Wells's books -couldn't get round the 1st few pages of Ann Veronica- but rather enjoyed the biography all the same. Maybe his life was more interesting than his books for a contemporary reader.
Not surprised by Lodge's choice of subject since he seems to have a thing for philanderers (Thinks + the university series) and people who are late in discovering sexual fulfilment (Paradise news ?).
Sometimes I felt as if the book was a little en deçà of what it could have been,
Nikkie (leestweeps)
De Britse auteur H.G. Wells was bij mij alleen bekend als de schrijver van ‘War of the Worlds’, dat ik alleen kende als een radiospel met een grote impact. De biofictieve roman ‘A man of parts’ van David Lodge geeft een smeuige omvangrijke beschrijving van Wells’ leven. Lodge concentreert zich vooral op het complexe liefdesleven, zijn literaire werk en de vooruitziende blik van de auteur. Lodge lijkt een bewonderaar te zijn, hij wekt de suggestie dat Wells de atoombom en het internet heeft bedac ...more
Despre Lodge în ipostaza de biograf s-a mai vorbit cu prilejul romanului Autorul, la rampă!, bazat pe viaţa lui Henry James şi drama din jurul primei repezentaţii-eşec a piesei Guy Domville. De data asta, Lodge scrie un roman care arată, de multe ori, ca o amplă lucrare de non-ficţiune extrem de bine documentată despre tumultuoasa viaţă a lui H.G. Wells şi în care, după cum afirmă autorul, sumedenia detaliilor contextuale inventate sunt doar cele pe care „istoria a omis să le precizeze”.

În primă
Huw Rhys
Dec 19, 2015 Huw Rhys rated it it was amazing
This is a book about a genius - by a genius.

I can honestly say that prior to reading this book, I didn't know much at all about HG Wells. I know he'd written the original "War of the Worlds", and although I've seen film, theatre, radio and musical adaptations of this story, I'm pretty sure I've never read the book. "The Invisible Man", "The Time Machine" and something to do with Dr Moreau would have been all I could have dredged up from the depths if I'd pulled HG Wells' works as a question on "
Jun 07, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
A rather interesting David Lodge book, a tad over-long but very readable. I normally feel unsure about novelised biographies but I found this easy to accept as an imagined version of HG Wells based on a fair amount of research. But I don't think any of the characters in this book come out as likeable characters.

The main themes do get very repetative at points. Interestingly Lodge doesn't have any embarrassment writing the sex scenes but they aren't particularly good! I mostly enjoyed this for th
Hilary Higgins
Nov 07, 2015 Hilary Higgins rated it really liked it
I took a while to warm to this, but as I finished it felt the sudden gap that his death brought to the lives of those who loved him, which suggests the author had done his job well and HG had momentarily become a part of my life too. I really enjoyed the form of the biographee debating with himself as he looked back over his work and loves as it allowed the author to give more than one perspective on Wells' writing and actions. So although a narrative based on a life, it seems a plausible interp ...more
Richard Gardner
Aug 04, 2015 Richard Gardner rated it really liked it
Enjoyable biography of H G Wells although perhaps a tad too long. Wells had a glittering career as a writer and will best be remembered as one of the earliest science fiction novelists. However he was also a philanderer and he kept his
wife Jane fully informed of the many affairs he was having. For her part Jane was rather frigid and was happy for Wells to get his pleasures elsewhere.

Wells of course is one of the earliest Socialists and his time in the Fabian Society is discussed in great detail.
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Professor David Lodge is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of University College London. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where he taught from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to write full-time.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was Chairman of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, and is the author of numerous works of li
More about David Lodge...

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“We’re a bundle of incompatible parts, and we make up stories about ourselves to disguise the fact. The mental unity of the individual is a fiction. There is simply, in the human machine, a multitude of loosely linked behaviour systems which take control of the body and participate in a common delusion of being one single self” 3 likes
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