Pamela's Reviews > New Grub Street

New Grub Street by George Gissing
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Dec 13, 08

Read in December, 2008

I suspected I was going to love this book because I so loved another Gissing novel, The Odd Women (see my review). I did. New Grub Street was published in 1891 but couldn't feel more contemporary in its wry, sly, cynical take on writers and the writing life. As in The Odd Women, Gissing is preoccupied with the ways in which material want deforms lives and ideals. There are no villains here, but the talented and high-minded tend to fail, while the savvy and commercial-minded tend to succeed. Gissing is too good a psychologist to make all this simplistic or moralistic... he just makes it ring true enough to hurt. His portrait of the disintegrating marriage between a literary novelist and his practical-minded wife is excruciating, and puts me in mind of another terrific novel that's getting so much attention right now, Revolutionary Road.
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message 1: by Tracy (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:49AM) (new)

Tracy Hi Pamela --

I've been meaning for a while now to tell you how much I enjoy looking at your reviews -- you are reading so many books I haven't heard of but that sound fascinating and right up my alley, like this one, and also all those short-story collections. I'm not on this site very often so my section is relatively incomplete/a work in progress! But I'm currently reading "Crossing to Safety" by Wallace Stegner and loving it. Perhaps I'll write about it on here when I'm done -- if you've read it, let me know, I'd love to talk about it when I finish. I read Revolutionary Road last year and found the writing stunning, the story excruciating, so New Grub Street sounds like something I should check out.

I should really read your novel too. And perhaps meet you sometime, neighbor! I'm a very lapsed writer these days but I'm trying to find my way back there...

Tracy


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