Saturday, January 31, 2009


Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 484
Format : Literary Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 Greatest Books Challenge

Mrs Morel marries her husband Walter only to find out that he has been less than truthful about the money he has and the property he owns. She consigns herself to a life of poverty with a miner for a husband who also has a drinking problem. As the marriage disintegrates she draws much comfort from their children and Paul in particular (their second son) takes it upon himself to make sure she has everything he needs.

He is the classic second son who can never live up to his eldest brother. Everything he does has been done before and he is a sensitive type who enjoys painting. He puts his mother first in all things which causes his relationships to suffer. He won't marry either of the two women he loves. They are quite different ,one being more practical and dull the other modern and risky. He is very clear he does not want to suffer the same fate as his parents have done and become trapped. He is fickle and can't make up his mind from one moment to the next.

Ultimately he becomes dissatisfied and begins to destroy himself at the end of the novel. This is a look at class struggle told from the perspective of a working class family who try to better themselves yet still look down on those percieved to be of higher status than them. Paul also struggles with his sexuality and finding himself and his purpose. Quite a bleak book in many ways, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.

3 comments:

Alice Teh said...

I've bought this book some weeks ago and hope to read it soon. Thanks for the review!

Nymeth said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it quite as much as I did, but I'm glad you enjoyed it still. I thought this was an interesting mix of bleak and hopeful. I suspect you'd like Lady Chatterly even more than this one.

Kim L said...

Hmmm... I sometimes have trouble with real depressing type of books as well. I could appreciate the writing of "House of Mirth", but it was such a depressing book over all (as an example), I really didn't enjoy it that much.