Josh's Reviews > Loving / Living / Party Going

Loving / Living / Party Going by Henry Green
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's review
Feb 15, 2008

really liked it
Read in February, 2008

Of the three novels in this volume (which I bought on the strongest recommendation from a friend), I've read so far only the last one, Party-Going and part of the first one, Living.

Party-Going is a tremendous short novel, written in "real-time," it seems, the events of the novel unfolding during the two or three hours of a massive train delay caused by London fog. (The time is the 1930s.) I say "real time" because it seems that you could read the book in exactly as much time as elapses in the course of the story. A group of rich young socialites on their way to Paris wait listlessly in a hotel, gossiping, sipping drinks, engaging in half-hearted emotional terrorism, while their porters wait below in the mobbed train-station. The elderly aunt of one of the young socialites has fallen mysteriously ill, and her suffering and delirium are woven through the text, which works by sudden shifts of scene with few breaks and even fewer narratorial interventions. Most of the text is reported speech, it reads almost like a play, but the "dialogue" is too subtle, too hypnotically terse, and too much about nothing to be a proper drama.

The not-so-subtle symbolism of a mob of working class passengers trapped in the foggy passages of the station while the rich people recline and drink in a comfortable room severals floors up becomes a source of insistent tension. The fog also is quite palpable as annoyance, as anxiety, as uncertainty in the midst of these people's charming little travel plans. The style is sparse, the action even more so, but one feels a deliberate, if unspoken, sense of disgust, and sometimes of sympathy, underlying the cool, polished surface of the language. I look forward to reading the other novels in the volume!

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Eduardo I started with Party Going as well. While each novel is fantastic, I have felt the need to read Party going at least2 more time just for the enjoyment.

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