Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fountain Overflows” as Want to Read:
The Fountain Overflows
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fountain Overflows

(Aubrey Trilogy #1)

by
3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,657 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
The lives of the talented Aubrey children have long been clouded by their father's genius for instability, but his new job in the London suburbs promises, for a time at least, reprieve from scandal and the threat of ruin.

Mrs. Aubrey, a former concert pianist, struggles to keep the family afloat, but then she is something of a high-strung eccentric herself, as is all too c
...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by NYRB Classics (first published 1956)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fountain Overflows, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Pamela Kay Hawkins It is a clean book, make that refreshing. Consider the time late 19th, early 20th. Century. You don't get to view bedroom antics, but the people are…moreIt is a clean book, make that refreshing. Consider the time late 19th, early 20th. Century. You don't get to view bedroom antics, but the people are captivating, as is the situation in which West's characters find themselves. Smart and funny, with a dab of the occult, if that's what you're craving.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Paul Bryant
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I who usually hang around with degenerates (murderers, religious maniacs, Hitler) found myself enfolded within the bosom of a shabby-genteel family, the Aubreys, who were - only just - scraping by somewhere between 1900 and 1910 in south London on what the father forgot to gamble away on the stock exchange (not once but many times) and the mother’s fixed purpose that her two middle daughters will become concert pianists. The mother says things like

It must have the strict value of a quaver, other
...more
Grazia
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Oh bambini se amate qualcuno dategli la possibilità che merita"

Questa è la storia di una famiglia di artisti. O meglio, la mamma è una pianista, di grande talento, che ha smesso di esibirsi nel momento in cui si è sposata.
Il padre è un giornalista, economista, visionario, ma completamente scollato da quella che è la vita di tutti i giorni e dalle necessità e i doveri che devono essere espletati a sostentamento della propria famiglia. Questa mamma e questo papà hanno generato tre figlie femmine,
...more
lorinbocol
in alcuni punti ho sperimentato un retropensiero di faticosa inutilità. simile a quando mi intestardii nel provare a ricordare la differenza tra giambi e trochei, ma erano passati troppi anni dalla maturità. purtuttavia, congedando questa notte rebecca all’agognato traguardo di pagina 486 (la postfazione per ora nun ja fò), è stato con sincero disagio che ho pronunciato la fatidica frase non-sei-tu-sono-io.
perché la signora ovest qui presente ha scritto un a tratti gradevole romanzone (one), che
...more
Roberto
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk

Tutti insieme appassionatamente

In questo romanzo, ambientato a Londra all'inizio del novecento, è protagonista una famiglia. Un padre, tanto geniale quanto sprovveduto, tanto generoso quanto assente, tanto capace di prevedere la storia futura quanto incapace di gestire finanziariamente gli affari di famiglia, tanto bravo nell'aiutare gli altri quanto incapace di gestire sé stesso. Una madre, pianista ed ex concertista, decisa, carismatica, tanto brava e interessata a seguire lo sviluppo musicale
...more
Mariel
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: virtuous virtuosos
Recommended to Mariel by: blood traitor
Do you feel like you've walked into the edges when you catch someone crying? What if they want you watching them cry? The edges could melt and lines blur. The them with just them, the them with you, you with them and you with just you. Rebecca West's fountain overflowed, all right. Too many people. I guess the lines did too, like one of those chalk drawings from the film of Mary Poppins. Lines on a page from trying to get it all down and figure everyone's place to make your expected move. I had ...more
Jane
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Fountain Overflows’ was Rebecca West’s first book in twenty years; and it was to have been the first volume of a trilogy that would tell the story of her century. She didn’t live quite long enough to complete that story, but after reading this book I am eager to read the next book and to read the final, unfinished work.

This is a story that draws on the authors own life, without being entirely autobiographical; and it tells of growing up in a creative, musical family, from the perspective o
...more
SCARABOOKS
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
È il primo volume di una trilogia che racconta la storia di una famiglia e di tre sorelle. Primissimo novecento: quando tutto deve ancora accadere, nella storia del secolo e delle tre ragazze (che poi in realtà diventano quattro e la quarta è un gioiello di personaggio).
Quel che succede nel primo libro è la storia di un'infanzia collettiva, raccontata da una delle tre cinquant'anni dopo: le difficoltà economiche, i riti domestici, le dinamiche quotidiane, la figura contraddittoria eppure mitizza
...more
Chrissie
On completion: What did I think? Ughhhhh! This was not for me, and honestly I would not recommend this to anyone. I found it childish and boring and long and drawn-out. It is basically a coming of age story, but it is too outdated to give to today's kids. It throws in some satire on Edwardian society and tries to cover disparate topics from feminism, to the essence of music, to clairvoyance and the wisdom of kids / stupidity of adults. It does none of this well. Except for an occasional sentence ...more
Siti
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letto
IL MONDO È UN LUOGO ASSURDO

Recentemente ripubblicato da Fazi Editore, il primo volume della trilogia dedicata alla famiglia Aubrey, per chi non conosce l’autrice Rebecca West, è una ghiotta occasione di lettura da non farsi sfuggire. Restituisce l’opera come già apparsa nell’edizione Mattioli 1885 e fa entrare il lettore in una dimensione di lettura gradevole, fresca e insieme appassionante.
Non ci si aspetti, a dispetto delle sue oltre cinquecento pagine, un susseguirsi di eventi spalmati in un
...more
Hilary
I so enjoyed this book. The way the story was told through the eyes of a child was wonderful, I loved Rose's personality. I really enjoyed the way the children spoke and looking into their make believe world I remembered that I had had imaginary animals too, but had completely forgotten about them until I read this ! If you are a musician or love music this book will have appeal for you.
Helene Jeppesen
"The Fountain Overflows" is a beautiful story about four siblings who live together with their mother in England; three sisters and one brother. Their father is in the picture, but he's very distraught and seldom present in the house. We then follow these four siblings' lives together with their mother as they grow up and become more and more independent. This is also a story about music and talent and how that can affect your life in positive and negative ways.
Based on this synopsis, it is ver
...more
flaminia
Sep 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
fin dalle prime pagine me bruciaveno le mano.
proseguendo nella lettura sono stata travolta dal desiderio di sterminare l'intera famiglia aubrey, simpatica come un cactus su per il culo.
l'ho finito solo perché ormai sono campionessa intergalattica di lettura in stradiagonale.
erigibbi
La famiglia Aubrey di Rebecca West esce oggi, cinque luglio, per la casa editrice Fazi ed è il primo libro di una trilogia che, come si può intuire dal titolo, fa parte di una saga familiare.

Rebecca West è in realtà lo pseudonimo di Cicely Isabel Fairfield e la trilogia de La famiglia Aubrey è ispirata alla sua storia familiare.

La storia è ambientata a Londra, a cavallo tra il 1800 e il 1900, e la famiglia Aubrey è composta da Piers, capofamiglia, giornalista e scrittore molto stimato, ma con il
...more
Sylvester
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: musicians
(I hate reviewing books like this one! It's impossible. If I say everything rushing around in my head, no one will benefit. If I am brief, it is like an insult both to the book itself and to my feelings about it. I'm just going to grit my teeth and get it over with.)

This is a weird book. Irritating and even disturbing at first, I found myself getting very tense and anxious about the family's situation, and angry with the father for his neglect. I was sure I wasn't going to like the book, but by
...more
Cxr
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Scritto negli anni della maturità da un’autrice contemporanea di Virginia Woolf, The Fountain Overflows (la Famiglia Aubrey) è un romanzo parzialmente autobiografico ambientato nel primo decennio del novecento, quando la West aveva tra gli otto e i diciotto anni. Nel romanzo ricostruisce l’essenza della sua famiglia, due sorelle e un fratello, la vena artistica della madre per la musica e del padre per la parola, l’eccentricità di una vita ai margini del proprio ceto sociale, la costante mancanz ...more
Laura
This is the first book of the Saga of the Century (Aubrey) trilogy and I really liked it.

What can I say about this book? It's another little gem of the literature.

This is an auto-biographical novel set in early twentieth-century London, is narrated by a twelve-year-old girl who, along with her twin sister, is a piano prodigy. The girls’ mother--eccentric in her own way and their father is a controversial journalist. By the end of the book, he decides to take another turn on their lives.

Its seque
...more
John
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
two pages into this realized i'd come across a sublimely intelligent and aware narrative voice -- that of a 12-yr-old girl in turn-of-the-century London -- and from that point on eat it up fast enough. pure delight. a fictionalized account of west's real family, the story follows the lives of the narrator, rose aubrey and her twin sister mary (both of whom are prodigies on the piano), their older sister cordelia, who apparently stinks at the piano, but doesn't realize it (much to the chagrine of ...more
Katerina
DNF at 65%

40 days with this book and my reader's enthusiasm is now officially dead.
I might as well even write a review a bit later because the book is not bad per se, it's just excruciatingly still (and presumptuous).
Sarah
May 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the second Rebecca West novel I've read. My first was her unfinished novel Sunflower. Oddly enough, I preferred that one to this, her most famous work. Though unfinished, Sunflower had a much tighter narrative, in my opinion.

Here, it seems West had so much to say, it came out all in a rush: anecdotes within anecdotes, text arbitrarily divided into paragraphs and chapters. It felt almost manic. It was frustrating, at times, because I craved something more linear. Nevertheless, one can't d
...more
Chiara Libriamoci
Tre stelle e mezzo

I genitori sono cresciuti di avventura spensierata, i figli costretti a nutrirsi di sogni e immaginazione.

Il padre Piers vive di scrittura e, sebbene ciò che fa sembra essere molto apprezzato, vive di vizi che portano spesso al limite la condizione economica familiare; condizione che viene gestita con grande orgoglio dalla magra e spigolosa moglie Claire che trasmette l’amore per la musica ai figli sperando in una carriera a cui lei ha dovuto rinunciare.

I veri protagonisti sono
...more
La lettrice controcorrente
Tre stelle e mezzo
Un libro raffinato e ricco. Ammetto di aver cominciato la famiglia Aubrey sperando di ritrovare le atmosfere della Saga dei Cazalet di Elizabeth Jane Howard, non fate questo errore, rimarrete delusi. Non sono storie paragonabili.

Nei libri della Howard ho trovato  ricchezza nella trama, per la quantità di personaggi, di sviluppi e per i magnifici intrecci che hanno dato vita a un'opera che è entrata di diritto tra le mie preferite.  Rebecca West è una penna molto diversa, la ric
...more
Tony
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
THE FOUNTAIN OVERFLOWS. (1956). Rebecca West. ****.
Rebecca West (1892-1983) was the pen name of Cicely Isabel Fairfield, an English writer and critic who, unfortunately, has faded from the public’s awareness in recent years. In her early years, she was an ardent feminist and essayist, and ran in social circles active in political issues. Her most famous book was, “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon” (1941), a travelogue and history of Yugoslavia. I’ve put off reading it for years; it runs to over 1,000
...more
Ellen
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of The Soloist by Mark Salzman
Recommended to Ellen by: my mother
I originally read this brilliant book by Rebecca West when I was in my teens. Two of her themes rang so true that they clarified the way I thought and still think. First, she brought to life how much children are at the mercy of their parents. The children's father is a charming, intelligent man who is also self-centered, intolerant, ungrateful, and incapable of keeping a job. West's own father deserted the family and her portrait of the fictional father captures the aching love and mistrust the ...more
Mary
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book!
The first of a trilogy.
Utterly compelling writing.
The Aubrey family live in Edwardian London.
The father loves his children and makes them beautiful things but even so he struggles to keep them to the standard they are used to as he constantly speculates and leaves them in penury.
It is the Mother that keeps the family together even when the Husband leaves.
All is not lost though as the pictures they thought were just copies were in fact real.
I loved it and can't wait to read the nex
...more
Agnes
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lo riprenderò sicuramente, ora ho altre priorità.
Mantengo le mie promesse....
Ripreso , sempre grazie a chi mi ha incoraggiato : ero io che lo avevo approcciato dal un punto di vista sbagliato, non era il momento. Sto proseguendo e.... mi piace !
Finito ! contentissima , un grazie speciale ad Emilio !
Laurel Hicks
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A charming story, beautifully told.
J.
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Her conversation consisted of comments on our circumstances too bluff and too indelicate to be called sympathetic, though if they were not that they could have no purpose, and when she could think of no more she used to turn her pouches and her jowls on us children, and inquire whether we realized we must earn our livings as soon as possible, adding, “And there’ll have to be no nonsense about it either.” This phrase was surely as destitute of meaning as the baying of a dog ...

Concordance Under T
...more
El
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a book driven by plot, this isn't the choice for you.

The Aubrey family is strange, but talented; Mr. Aubrey's specific talent lies in keeping the family in debt, but Mrs. Aubrey and twin daughters, Mary and Rose, have a talent in music rivaled by few. The youngest son, Richard Quin, doesn't care about music so much, but is beloved by all who set eyes on him. The eldest daughter, Cordelia, isn't talented in music at all, looks different than the rest of the family, and is on
...more
Ali
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fountain Overflows is possibly one of Rebecca West’s most famous works – the first novel in a projected trilogy – the third of the trilogy not quite finished when Rebecca West died. The Real Night and Cousin Rosamund complete the trilogy and both these novels were published posthumously, – and while I am not keen on unfinished works – I do now very much want to read them both.

The story is that of an Edwardian family in the years before the First World War. Our narrator is Rose, one of three
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: The Fountain Overflows - Rebecca West 1 13 Jul 18, 2014 03:53PM  
NYRB Classics: The Fountain Overflows, by Rebecca West 1 7 Oct 23, 2013 08:49AM  
  • Angel
  • The Slaves of Solitude
  • Lolly Willowes
  • Invitation to the Waltz
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Vet's Daughter
  • Frost in May (Frost in May, #1)
  • Manservant and Maidservant
  • The Three Sisters
  • Wish Her Safe at Home
  • Someone at a Distance
  • Great Granny Webster
  • The Outward Room
  • The Rector's Daughter
  • Miss Mole
  • Letty Fox: Her Luck
  • The Rising Tide
  • A Legacy
191 followers
Cicely Isabel Fairfield, known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic, and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribun ...more

Other books in the series

Aubrey Trilogy (4 books)
  • This Real Night
  • Cousin Rosamund (VMC)
  • The Saga of the Century: The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, and Cousin Rosamund
“You must always believe that life is as extraordinary as music says it is.” 104 likes
“Yes,” said Mamma, “this is the worst of life, that love does not give us common sense but is a sure way of losing it. We love people, and we say that we are going to do more for them than friendship, but it makes such fools of us that we do far less, indeed sometimes what we do could be mistaken for the work of hatred.” 16 likes
More quotes…