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Green Mansions

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,931 ratings  ·  287 reviews
A failed revolutionary attempt drives the hero of Hudson's novel to seek refuge in the primeval forests of south-western Venezuela. There, in the 'green mansions' of the title, Abel encounters the wood-nymph Rima, the last survivor of a mysterious aboriginal race. The love that flowers between them is soon overshadowed by cruelty and sorrow... One of the acknowledged maste ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 240 pages
Published November 19th 1998 by Oxford University Press (first published 1904)
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Abigail yes. It is a romantic tale with a tragic end but its stuff is clean.

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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  2,931 ratings  ·  287 reviews

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Sigh… this is a novel that has lived in my memory as a beloved book from my late teenage years. I first stumbled across this book deep in the stacks of my university library while randomly browsing in order to take a break from proving some tedious, complicated mathematical theorem. Perhaps it was the dullness of the mathematical formulas that in comparison led me to believe this book was truly magical. I became completely obsessed with the book and at the time considered it to be one of the mos ...more
James Henderson
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-horror
Green Mansions: a Romance of the Tropical Forest (1904) is an exotic romance by W. H. Hudson (1841-1922) about a traveller to the Guyana jungle of southeastern Venezuela and his encounter with a forest dwelling girl named Rima. Hudson was born in Argentina, son of settlers of U.S. origin.
He spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier, publishing his ornithological work in Proceedings of the Royal Zoological So
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I feel ambivalent about this book. I did finish it, and on the whole I'm glad I read it, but I'm not sure I'd say I liked it--it holds on to three stars by its toe nails. It's considered a minor classic, and it was a favorite book of someone I knew in high school. How many classics are loved and read (unassigned) by teenagers? It was a favorite of novelist John Galsworthy as well, who provided the introduction in the Project Gutenberg edition I downloaded--he ranks Hudson with Tolstoy and called ...more
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rose by: My husband
Shelves: classics
A nice romantic and unusual story set in Victorian era in the forests of Venzuela. Interesting narrative, a bit difficult to get into, however it's worth it if you are patient.

I am actually revising this review. After being done with this book after a few days, I realize that I am still thinking about it and when that happens, I need to re-evaluate my feelings.

I think I finally get this story. This is about nature vs man, Rima is our representation of nature. SHe is everything beautiful, innocen
Sep 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
If you have never heard of the book Green Mansions and didn't know it was a classic, you're not alone. Neither did I before I saw it on my library's "We Recommend" table. It certainly looked old and, on a whim, I checked it out. After looking up the title on and Goodreads, I realized it was, indeed, a classic and thought I'd add a lesser known, or forgotten title to my list of twenty. You know, step outside the box. Maybe help shed some light on a great old book.

Well, classics are cl
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In my recent review of Frank Aubrey's lost-race novel "The King of the Dead" (1903), which transpires in the jungle depths of Brazil, I mentioned that the author, in an attempt to add realism to his descriptions of the terrain, had quoted liberally from works by the famed Argentinian writer William Henry Hudson. And well he might! Hudson at that point was 62 years old, and well known for being both a naturalist and ornithologist, his specialty being the birds of his native South America; he'd al ...more
Connie G
Abel narrates a story about his mysterious past in the "green mansions" of the Venezuelan rainforest. When he was a young revolutionary, he had to go into hiding in an Indian village in the Parahuari Mountains. He went exploring in a nearby forest where the Indians refused to walk, fearing the presence of an evil spirit, the Daughter of the Didi. She was a half-wild girl named Rima who lived close to nature, hiding while singing with soft warbling sounds. "Again and again as I stood there listen ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: classic fiction fans
Considered W H Hudson's masterpiece and promoted as an exotic romance, Green Mansions lived up to its reputation. An old man, Mr Abel, tells his tale to a close friend. Mr Abel, a Venezuelan, had become embroiled in a political plot to overthrow his government back when he was an unwise young man of twenty-three. The plot was discovered, forcing him to flee for his life. Consequently he spent some years wandering the jungle and living with savages.

Mr Abel met a mysterious young woman who besid
W.M. Driscoll
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
When I was studying Jungian psychology, many years ago, I came across this book which hangs its narrative upon his "night journey" concept (a prevalent theme in books and films including Coppala's Apocalypse Now, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Oliver Stone's Platoon), that of a journey into the self personified by a physical reality, a jungle, dessert, cave etc. In this reality lies a shadow figure to be overcome/slain/or fallen to, representative of the hero's unrecognized unconscious, ...more
Mikey B.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is definitely an odd story – and original, but not perfect (more on that later).

It is hard to categorize exactly where this work of fiction lies; maybe in the mystical realm. However, towards the end a hard gloomy aspect descends upon the narrative.

The story resolves around a man in his thirties, named Abel, who having to flee urban Venezuela for political reasons,hides in the jungles near the border of Guyana. His life is constantly shifting between that of a small indigenous tribe and a y
Like Heart of Darkness, this is a long recounted tale about a journey among ‘savages’. After a prologue, the narrator soon cedes storytelling duties to Mr. Abel, whom he met in Georgetown, Guyana in 1887. Searching for gold and fighting off illness, the 23-year-old Abel took up the habit of wandering the Venezuelan forest. The indigenous people were superstitious and refused to hunt in that forest. Abel began to hear strange noises – magical bird calls or laughter – that, siren-like, drew him de ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book has a pervasive and oppressive atmosphere of racism, which really bothered me throughout. The story starts slowly but builds. The most remarkable thing about the book is the growth of the main character Abel (with the exception of his intense racism which he never shakes in the least). In the end although I don't agree with all of the theology the final conclusion of the book is laudable even beautiful. ...more
Jan 25, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I first read Green Mansions as a teenager. Or at least I think I did—the magical figure of Rima stayed with me, the whole pretty part, the green mansions, the birds and animals. But I wonder if I finished the book, because on this current reading, Rima seems almost the least of the story and the story itself cautionary. The writing and the story set up are Romantic and Victorian in tone, passionate and highly colored. The main character Abel is a white Venezuelan who is on the run and loses hims ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Abel, a wealthy young European, leaves Caracas after a failed political revolution and finds an Indian settlement in the jungles of Venezuala. While wandering the jungle he discovers a bird-like woman, Rima, with whom he ultimately falls in love, and her grandfather, Nuflo. As time passes Abel discovers more of Rima's secrets including her past and her ancestry, all of which put Abel at as much risk as it does Rima and her grandfather.

An interesting and visual location for a Victorian romance (w
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In my humble opinion, this book is great. True, story, fantasy, or other - the book can be interpreted in many ways. The individual passages are mesmerizing. One chapter take you away so the other chapters are forgotten. Initially, I just happened to stumble upon the book in a used book store somewhere. The used books stores are disappearing, hopefully this review will keep up the interest.


PS It was just as mystifying in a second read a few years ago.
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, classics
This book definitely has flaws, plot holes and politically incorrect views compared to today, but I was intrigued with it and kept wanting to find out more!
I typically hold with the idea that classics deserve a second chance and in keeping with that theory I embarked on a re-read. The first time I read this I was a teenager and I hated it, but I thought perhaps now—with more life experience—I might see the book differently. Find something redeeming in it, something to recommend it. Nope. In my opinion this book deserves to sink in obscurity.

All the characters are unsavory in their own way but the protagonist and narrator, Abel, is the worst. He's
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was a unique book but somewhat sleep-inducing. It takes place in Venezuela and Guyana and since I read it soon after I was in Costa Rica I could really envision the rain forests and other scenery. The characters I was not as enamored of. Abel, who is condescending and racist, just liked to chase after nubile native women. I developed more respect for him by the end because of his devotion to his true love, Rima. Rima, on the other hand was too mystical to ever develop any affection for. All ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
I gave this book 4 stars... out of the memory of loving this book as a child...

Rereading it... Ugh! What I saw in it back then is not what I see in it now. The protagonist is a self centered, pretentious... pedophile! At least that's what I get from it now. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood but I never got past halfway through... I just couldn't take it any more. I'm changing the stars to one, and wish I hadn't tampered with the memory of a book I once enjoyed.
Ann Klefstad
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of those wonderfully quirky fictions that would never, ever be printed today. Worse luck. From the experience, years ago, of reading slush piles, I know that such books are around-- just not in print. Maybe the rise of ebooks will make them once again available, these eccentric and magic imaginings.
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this book to be slow and sometimes boring, but I really liked the end. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say I like what the main character has learned for himself by the last page. ...more
Nandakishore Mridula
*Possible mild spoilers*

There are certain books one should read at a certain period in their lives, else they become trivial to the point of utmost silliness. 'Green Mansions' by W. H. Hudson is one such.

My father used to travel a lot while I was a kid. As is usual, he used to bring back goodies for his children. Unsurprisingly, I was interested only in books. This book was such a gift, given to me more than four decades ago, which slept on my shelf till it was read as my last book of 2019.

Joy H.
Apr 12, 2017 marked it as watched-film-only
Added 4/12/17. (First published in 1904)

FILM: "Green Mansions" (1959)
"A young man in the jungles of Venezuela meets a strange girl of the forest and falls in love with her."
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Anthony Perkins, Lee J. Cobb

I discovered this film on the TCM Channel, 4/12/17.

"This is about nature vs man, Rima is our representation of nature. SHe is everything beautiful, innocent and p
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't even know if I like this book. It has its flaws for sure; still, there's something about it that has stuck with me for years. The vividness of the setting has kept me enraptured. Usually, the setting bores me. I quickly plow through all the description so I can move on to the characters and plot. Not here though; somehow Hudson mingles the characterization and setting so that they are woven into one. I experience the setting of Green Mansion with all my senses. The main character grows r ...more
Well that was disappointing. This is a sort of supernatural romance, kinda, maybe preternatural would be more apt. Anyway its about a man who finds a forest in Guyana said by locals to be haunted. I can't say much more about it without spoiling the story, especially since there is so little plot.
I was really into it at first burning quickly through the first 9 or so chapters. It seemed really compelling, but after a while i realized the reason i was reading so quickly, was because of the thin
Jun 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
We have a RIMA in our book club. Her mother loved the book. A generation later, I loved the book. Now I am trying to remember why: evocative, imaginative, mysterious jungle flora and fauna. Big mistake to read it again. Racist, misogynist, ageist, disillusioning of a fond memory. Pedophile. Is this a spoiler?

No concept of liberation theology, the author was no Che Guevara or even William Beebe, the noted naturalist of the same time period (1904) or J.M. Barrie although clearly influenced by the
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub, classic
I felt the first part of this book was a bit sluggish with him just wandering around in the forest. It began to get interesting to me when he met Rima and then the last five or six chapters were hard for me to put down. This book isn't perfect and I can see why it's an obscure classic, but I ended up really enjoying it. ...more
I thought Green Mansions was really sweet. It is a very nice story, despite being tragic. It is a "romance of the tropical forest," as Hudson put it. The protagonist, Abel, falls in love with a wood nymph named Rima but their love is brought to an end when it is overtaken by evil and sorrow. ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Taught this classic. My students did not know what to make of it. I think without the post-colonial theory applied to it, the book makes for very thin discussion.
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William Henry Hudson was an author, naturalist and ornithologist. He was born in the Partido de Quilmes in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where he is considered to belong to the national literature as Guillermo Enrique Hudson, the Spanish version of his name. He spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier, pu ...more

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