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Greenery Street

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  335 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
PG Wodehouse described this novel as 'so good that it makes one feel that it's the only possible way of writing a book, to take an ordinary couple and just tell the reader all about them.'

Greenery Street can be read on two levels - it is a touching description of a young couple's first year together in London, but it is also a homage - something rare in fiction - to happy
Paperback, 280 pages
Published March 1937 by Penguin Books (first published 1925)
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Denis Mackail's Greenery Street (1925) brings something a little different to the female-dominated Persephone list, in that is one of the few novels they have chosen to publish which was penned by a man. I knew nothing about Mackail before I began to read - not even that he was the brother of celebrated author Angela Thirkell, whose works are currently being reprinted by Virago - but the introduction was fascinating, and I was left with the impression that he was a man I would have enjoyed spend ...more
Roger Pettit
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't think of many novels that feature a young, happily-married couple whose relationship stays that way throughout. Too often, unfaithfulness or some other problem intrudes. But that is certainly not the case with this charming, amusing and engaging story about the first year of marriage of a young, upper middle class couple in London in the 1920s. Persephone Books has scored another bullseye with 'Greenery Street'. Its author, Denis Mackail, is a new name to me. It's perhaps not surprising ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So evocative of the 1920's.
We follow Ian and Felicity in their first year of marriage living in Greenery Street.
I loved it and hadn't realised that Denis Macckail was Angela Thirkell's brother.
Another favourite author of mine.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is so refreshing to read about two people - a couple - who like each other! Who actually like spending time together! And telling each other things!

This is a lovely - a charming - book. And funny too. At first I thought it was going to be a bit gentle and slightly stuffy but then I laughed out loud on page 17 and again on page 26 and then I knew it was going to be alright.
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-in-2014
This novel is a delightful account of the first year of a newlywed couple, Ian and Felicity, living together for the first time. It has been said that this is a rare gem in literature, since there aren't many stories out there about happy married couples. I guess their lives aren't exactly full of action and emotion, or not enough to pen rivers of novels about them. However, Denis Mackail turned this notion on its head with Greenery Street, and wrote a funny and endearing story based on his own ...more
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel (first published 1925) concerns the first year in a young couple's married life. (A young couple of a certain class of course) They take a small house in Greenery Street - which is metephorically where all young couples of their class start their lives.

This is a very readable novel, touching and funny at times. Although there is at times an unseen narrator who addresses the reader in the manner of a greek chorus, explaining and or commenting upon certain habits and traditions of that
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the drollness of this book about a young couple in their first year of marriage. It is perhaps the most charming of all the charming British novels I've read this year.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A novel of manners in 20's London -- a young couple settling to home on a street of houses where their neighbors are just like them. The narrator perches like a figurine on the mantlepiece and gives us the inner dialog of the new bride and her husband. The mismanagement of household finances and credit is observed -- there's even a sort of 'Gift of the Magi' moment -- as is redecorating,
seaside weekends, Granny's pearls, office life, and the disgruntled downstairs staff.

The couple were too emba
Deana David Lissenberg
After this book, I am on a feverish hunt for Denis Mackail books. This is a gentle, funny story about a newlywed couple moving to the street of their dreams, in London, and embarking on their first year of marriage. It's nothing challenging but it's funny and touching and insightful and VERY well-written. This was a book (and author) who was loved and respected by P.G. Wodehouse, J.M. Barrie-- and all of his celebrity friends. Forgotten now, I'm so glad this one's been republished. Apparently th ...more
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a charming look at a couple's first year of married life. Of course, some of the struggles Ian and Felicity face--handling servants, for example--seem as if they come from another world, which I suppose they do (the book takes place in the 1920s.) But other challenges, like budgeting and learning to live with another person, are those with which anyone can sympathize. It's a very funny book at times, too. I also enjoyed the way Mackail tied the threads of the plot together in ...more
Nov 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very adorable, yet readable story. Watching the beginning stages of the wife, as she assumes this new role, is a little trying to read. Fortunately, their actions as newlyweds quickly becomes less cringe-worthy and more interesting. The author tends to insert curious scenes of the house or curators of the house, watching over the couple and commenting silently. These were my favorite moments in the book: an all-seeing home watching this couple, as it has thousands of couples, go through the sa ...more
An absolutely charming story of early married life. I love Persephone Books for rescuing minor masterpieces of the first half of the XXth century from oblivion and reprinting them under their distinctive grey cover with floral endpapers. Theese books are lovely objects to hold and hoard, and the stories are a throwback in time. At various points I felt Mackail was going on too long, but every time I was caught again by his unpretentious humor and wisdom. He has a pitch-perfect sense of dialogue ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilantní kniha o prvním, nejzamilovanějším a svým způsobem nejbezstarostnějším roce manželství, kdy pro vaši ženu, služebnictvo a psa ještě může stačit maličký třípatrový viktoriánský dům. A podobných obskurních detailů ze života střední třídy v Londýně počátku dvacátého století je kniha plná. A přesto zůstává aktuální - v líčení opatrnosti a vyhýbavosti s jakými používáme jazyk (a nikdo se v tomhle nemůže rovnat Britům), pokrytectví s nímž se vlichocujeme druhým, abychom je za zády pomlouvali. ...more
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bizarrely, although I found this book extremely slow-moving and put it down for weeks at a time while reading it, I actually really enjoyed it. There is something about the way it is written that is so charming and witty. I really felt like I was peering through a window into 1920s England, and getting a feel for the challenges, flaws and emotional traumas of a couple of that social status in the period.
This book grows on you. Nothing happens and it is a quiet, gentle story told from an unusual viewpoint, an omniscient voice of the house/street. This may be a bit too long and the pace is polite and slow. So polite that the hint of infidelity and drinking are shocking. Worth reading as a reflection of the time. Excellent forward places book in context.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: persephone
The author described this as a faithful portrait of life. His reviewers described it as comedy. I find it somewhere between the two. It's a very unprentious sort of a book, easy to read, and while nothing big happens, it is alive with all the dramas of an undramatic life.

Quite nice.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just delightful. I spent most of my time reading it in calling out all the best bits to anyone else in the room with me. It is extremely funny, sympathetic, - and yes, possibly a little dated in some of the detail - but still timeless in its approach.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oldies, fiction, sweet, british
I really enjoyed this one. I read that P.G. Wodehouse liked it a lot and that was recommendation enough for me. A delightful story of a young couple setting up housekeeping for the first time on Greenery Street. A hidden treasure. I'm glad I found it.
A delight!
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5-4 stars
It took me a while before I realised that it is written like a play. I loved the characters and I found the underlying humor a perfect way to describe the way of life at that time. A homage to a street.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most lovely novel I have read in recent months. Witty dialogues take you to comfy Greenery Street and the perks of newslyweds life.
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greenery Street è il mio primo Persephone, o per lo meno il primo libro edito da Persephone che leggo nella loro (bellissima) edizione. Questa casa editrice si occupa di ripubblicare libri del ventesimo secolo, principalmente scritti da donne, e che per qualche motivo siano stati trascurati dal mondo editoriale. Sono titoli molto interessanti, e per quanto mi riguarda li comprerei in blocco se solo potessi. Questo romanzo in particolare mi ha colpito perché elogiato da addirittura da P. G. Wodeh ...more
Greenery Street follows the first year of a newly married couple, slightly auto-biographical, and told with fond, self-effacing humor. Another Persephone book on loan from Louise, first published in 1925.

Ian and Felicity move to a small house on Greenery Street to begin their new life together.

It would clearly be an exaggeration to say that every young couple begins married life at Greenery Street. It wouldn't even be true to say that every house in Greenery Street contains a young married coupl
Stephanie Stennett
3.5, on average. Parts are 4, even 4.5. There are whole pages I wanted to underline or notate. But the two protagonists I found annoying and a bit dull. Probably the point, actually. Satire on young marrieds. Marrieds in general.
Caution! Includes arch omniscient narrator! (Which I, oh best beloved, rather enjoy, but many do not.)
Dec 28, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1920s
This was my duff choice of the month, It is not unusual for me to put a book down, Sometimes for years. This one though I have no intention of finshing.[return][return]It tells the story of the first happy year of a young couples life together in the 1920's. Greenery St is where they hope to live forever. not realising that this 5 story terraced London house is just to small to raise children. It is well written and amusing at first but a man can only take so much billing and cooing before his v ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Prelude and first year of a young couple's marriage. Quite sweet but not overwhelmingly so. I love the premise that Greenery Street is the natural habitat of newlyweds, that's part of what makes it so cute: the unending cycle of people setting up housekeeping and figuring out how to live as a family. On Greenery Street there may be rough patches and miscommunications, but never for too long. Ian and Felicity, our protagonists, may occasionally roll their eyes and say "Women!" or "Men!" but all t ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not necessarily a truly 5-star story but definitely a 5-star experience. It's so lovely to read a novel that centres around a young couple who are happy and in love and not undercutting one another at every available moment. Although some of the plot points seem rather naive to modern readers, others remain as pertinent in the 2010s as the 1920s, there is an intense charm about Greenery Street which means it has earned pride of place on my bookshelf. Ian and Felicity are lovely and I didn't want ...more
I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could. It's cute story about a newly married couple and their naivete. They are so very British in being unable to express themselves, but they recognize they're really very silly. The omnipresent narrator is the saving grace as he (as I imagine it's a male voice) reflects their thoughts and actions with dry wit and reality. I like the book because I suppose newlyweds still act like this to a degree, but it was a bit slow for me. Still plugging along. It's a string of ...more
Mar 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: persephone
A mixed review. I gave this to Kate for her wedding but - ahem - read it first before wrapping and mailing it off. It covers the first year of marriage for a 1920s couple in London, and some of it is very sweet and funny. I laughed out loud at the nervous dinner scene when Ian tries to ask permission to marry Felicity. It's no "Betsy's Wedding," though. The story gets slow in bits and the author's patronizing attitude toward Felicity drove me up a wall.
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Denis Mackail was born in Kensington, London to the writer John William Mackail and Margaret Burne-Jones, daughter of the painter Edward Burne-Jones. Educated at St Paul's School, Hammersmith, he went to Balliol College, Oxford, but failed to complete his degree through ill-health after two years.

His first work was as a set designer, notably for J. M. Barrie's The adored one and George Bernard Sha
More about Denis Mackail...
“Some days you wake up and feel quite certain that something is going to happen and it generally doesn't, and when things are really going to happen it never feels like it a bit.” 2 likes
“Is one changing all the time, then?' she asks. 'Am I changing - without knowing it?” 1 likes
More quotes…