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A Man of Parts

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  824 Ratings  ·  150 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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Nov 19, 2014 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 09, 2012 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 07, 2014 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 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
Jul 28, 2011 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
Silvio Curtis
Aug 10, 2014 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
Apr 12, 2011 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
Lenore Beadsman64
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrew McClarnon
Nov 05, 2012 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
Carl Rollyson
Aug 10, 2012 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
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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
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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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