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Parents And Children

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  36 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Alternate cover edition for ISBN 140030905.
Published by Trafalgar Square Publishing (first published 1941)
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If you were a girl raised in a ramshackle Victorian family, growing up in a manor with servants’ quarters and a nursery and unreliable plumbing, and if you had a dozen siblings and half-siblings, two of whom killed themselves in a suicide pact on Christmas day, another of whom was killed in the Battle of the Somme, and a fourth, your favourite brother, who died of pneumonia; and if you never had sex in your life, at least not with a man, and quite possibly not with a woman, either; and if you we ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Sep 18, 2013 Kilian Metcalf rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kilian by: Mary Ronan Drew
Ivy Compton-Burnett has one of the most intriguing and baffling styles of writing that I have ever encountered. Written almost entirely in dialogue minus tags or attributions, the book challenges the reader to follow along.

Trying to sort out the dialogue of nine (!) children, their parents, grandparents, family friends (I think) and assorted nannies, nurses, and staff, including one child who refers to himself by name in the third person, dares the reader to follow the thread. If you didn't lik
Lots of very mannered, self-consciously clever dialogue - almost like reading a Wildean play script. Superb descriptions of people's tone of voice, mannerisms, emotions, motivation, inner fears, hidden agendas etc. Not something one can skim. Although lots of dialogue, it is not always immediately obvious who is saying what. Most characters are cold and detached, with not much plot happening and nothing resolved at the end.

Large, three-generation (Edwardian?) family, with children from 3 to 24.
This is my first Ivy Compton-Burnett but I sense the start of a love affair. This is the best novel I've read in a while, eccentric, moving, surprising, singular. And that she makes the story work almost exclusively through dialog, well, it hits me where I live.
Not quite as caustic as some of Ivy Compton-Burnett's books - the most malicious characters are secondary (the Cranmers) and there are actually some nice characters - the Marlowes and Nevill, though Nevill is only 3 so he has plenty of time to hone his malicious wit.

The plot, as usual with Ivy C-B, involves a large family, a death (or is it...?) and a remarriage. Unusually, a lot of the characters seem to be happy - though again, many of them have time to grow out of it.

If you read about the aut
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Dan Honeywell
This is the first Ivy Compton-Burnett book I've read. I generally love a lot of dialogue but this was simply too much. And worst of all, I predicted both of the two major plot twists. There's something good about this book and I think I'll remember it, especially the youngest child (I've forgotten his name...), but this is not great writing.
Jul 15, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Eric Cantor
Shelves: own, fiction
Pages and pages of the most stilted dialogue imaginable, just barely rescued from utter unreadableness by a bizarre plot twist. I sped-read through the first 175 pages, it was so unpleasant.
Mary Ronan Drew
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Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, DBE was an English novelist, published (in the original hardback editions) as I. Compton-Burnett. She was awarded the 1955 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her novel Mother and Son.
More about Ivy Compton-Burnett...
A House and Its Head Manservant and Maidservant The Present and the Past A Family and a Fortune A God and His Gifts

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“Well, the English have no family feelings. That is, none of the kind you mean. They have them, and one of them is that relations must cause no expense.” 1 likes
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