A timeless work of social satire, set in the 1920s and considered one of the most insightful Modernist depictions of England's working class
Living is a book about life in a factory town and the operations of a factory, from the workers on the floor to the boss in his office. The town is Birmingham and the factory is an iron foundry, like the one that Henry Green worked in for some time in the 1920s after dropping out of Oxford, and the stories—courtships, layoffs, getting dinner on the table, going to the pub, death—are all the ordinary stuff of life. The style, however, is pure Henry Green, at once starkly constrained and wildly streaked with the expedients and eccentricities of everyday speech—cliché and innuendo, clashing metaphors, slips of tongue—which is to say it is like nothing else. Epic and antic, Living is a book of exact observation and deep tenderness, the work, in Rosamond Lehmann’s words, of an “amorous and austere voluptuary” whose work continues to transform the novel.
Henry Green (1905–1973) was the pen name of Henry Vincent Yorke. Born near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, England, he was educated at Eton and Oxford and went on to become the managing director of his family’s engineering business, writing novels in his spare time. His first novel, Blindness (1926), was written while he was at Oxford. He married in 1929 and had one son, and during the Second World War served in the Auxiliary Fire Service. Between 1926 and 1952 he wrote nine novels—Blindness, Living, Party Going, Caught, Loving, Back, Concluding, Nothing, and Doting—and a memoir, Pack My Bag.
Adam Thirlwell is the author of three novels, Politics, The Escape, and Lurid & Cute; a novella, Kapow!; an essay-book, The Delighted States, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; and a compendium of translations edited for McSweeney’s. He has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and was the recipient of the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015.
Pub Date: 2017
Size: 5.25 x 8.75 inches