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A brilliant telling of the Brangwen family's 3 generations, before and after the industrial revolution from their small bit of England, and their rise from people of the land, to people of culture and worldly knowledge, with moral, spiritual and earthly struggles. Eventually revolving around the granddaughter, Ursula, a 'modern' women of free thought and the challenges that envelope her. It is a story of great passions, misfortunes, loves and agonies, always surrounded by their small place in the world of earthly power.
If you love this book as much as I have, 'Women in Love' continues the tale, this time focusing on Ursula's younger sister, Gudrun.
Maureen O'Brien is the best narrator I have, to this point, heard! Remarkable!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Written in the early 1900's this novel seems strangely contemporary with characters and situations that still resonate. This novel is primarily about characters and their relationship to environment, and not much about story. The novel follows the lives of a family that transitions from rural to industrial life in turn of the century Britain. There is some mildly erotic bi-curious scenes and lots of frank sexuality. All the action in this book is quite slow and almost all is internal to the characters. The writing is touching and subtly powerful. The story mirrors real life, over multiple generations, so there is a balance of death and birth, and happiness and despair, but I did not find this at all depressing, but life affirming.
This book reminded me a bit of Jude of Obscure, which I also liked quite a bit.
I had read Sons and Lovers and liked it a lot. I liked this more, and just added the sequel Women in Love to my queue.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It's a few decades since I read any Lawrence and I thought I'd give this a try as one of his landmark novels. It tells the story of three generations of a Derbyshire family and their passions, frailties and accommodations with the rising industrialising world around them. On the plus side is some very poetic writing and description and a vivid characterisation of the main protagonists and their passions/dilemmas. But oh how tedious the struggles with sexuality and identity. This might have been liberating to the spirits of his age, for the first time finding their feelings represented in his characters, but to this modern reader it is tedium in the extreme - overblown romanticism and occasional bodice-ripping flights of fancy. One does care about the characters to a degree - though some are more silhouetted than fleshed out. The tale of the last of the 3 generations is the most interesting - how Ursula Brangwen takes flight in search of her destiny, but did we need to dredge through such acres of previous generations and her own sexual anxst to get there? By the time you get here, you couldn't care less. Lawrence stands up far less well than his contemporaries, such as the wonderfully penetrating Henry James or the magnificent James Joyce. By comparison his plotting, psychology, use of ideas and ability to capture meaning is thin and undistinguished. What an overrated writer he turned out to be.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful