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1001 book reviews > Tono-Bungay - H.G. Wells

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3832 comments Mod
Read 2012
Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells, published in 1908.

This is a semi autobiographical fiction work. The narrator, George Ponderevo calls it a novel. George is a young man from the working middle class. His mother is a servant in Bladesover. George is sent away to learn a trade after he upsets the household. The major story follows George in the home of his uncle Edward Ponderevo. At this time George is studying the sciences with the plan to become a pharmacist with his uncle. His uncle loses his business and leaves George with the man who buys the business. The uncle finds a scheme to sell “Tono-Bungay” (Ton of Bunk) a treatment that will revitalize. George joins with his uncle even though he feels it is swindle because of his love pursuit. George is more interested in aeronautics and love pursuits. He marries rashly, has an affair, divorces and finally finds his one true love for which he sacrifices life to try and gain. George goes off on a sailing ship to gather quap which will restore his uncle’s good fortune and hopefully his standing with his one true love, Beatrice. The book is a statement on advertisement, class structure in Britain and marriage among other loosely woven topics. It is partly satire on capitalism, advertising and the gullibility of the public. It also portrays George and Edward Ponderevo who are driven by greed.
Wells is known for his science fiction writing. This novel is not science fiction but the subjects of “Tono-Bungay”, a pharmaceutical solution like you would by from the traveling medicine man, the creation of flying machines and air balloons and the quaf (radioactive elements) and the description of the quaf all are scientific topics.
H.G. Wells or Herbert George Wells was born in 1866 and died in 1946. He was a prolific writer in other genres besides science fiction but he is considered to be one of the father’s of science fiction. He considered himself a socialist. His father was a domestic gardener, shopkeeper and professional cricketer and his wife was a former domestic servant. He was from the impoverished lower middle class. Wells was apprenticed to various occupations including draper and chemist which he failed at. He started to attend school as a pupil teacher and he earned a degree in zoology in 1890. Well’s married twice and had numerous affairs. Tono-Bungay is very futuristic as it explores advertising and also the decay of radioactive elements.
This was a free book at Amazon and is also available at other sources on the internet for free.

Diane | 1943 comments Rating: 3 stars

A novel that criticizes the British hierarchical society during that time. The main character (much like the author, himself) has limited opportunities, due to low birth. He grows up next to the privileged, however, and cultivates a taste for something better. He goes into business with an unethical uncle, markets a bogus product, becomes successful, and gets married. He soon becomes disenchanted with his life and marriage.

Overall, not as exciting as his other novels, but well-written and engaging, all the same.

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