A Man of Parts

A Man of Parts

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
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'The mind is a time machine that travels backwards in memory and forwards in prophecy, but he has done with prophecy now...'

Sequestered in his blitz-battered Regent's Park house in 1944, the ailing Herbert George Wells, 'H.G.' to his family and friends, looks back on a life crowded with incident, books, and women. Has it been a success or a failure? Once he was the most famous writer in the world, 'the man who invented tomorrow'; now he feels like yesterday's man, deserted by readers and depressed by the collapse of his utopian dreams.

He recalls his unpromising start, and early struggles to acquire an education and make a living as a teacher; his rapid rise to fame as a writer with a prophetic imagination and a comic common touch which brought him into contact with most of the important literary, intellectual, and political figures of his time; his plunge into socialist politics; his belief in free love, and energetic practice of it. Arguing with himself about his conduct, he relives his relationships with two wives and many mistresses, especially the brilliant student Amber Reeves and the gifted writer Rebecca West, both of whom bore him children, with dramatic and long-lasting consequences.

Unfolding this astonishing story, David Lodge depicts a man as contradictory as he was talented: a socialist who enjoyed his affluence, an acclaimed novelist who turned against the literary novel; a feminist womaniser, sensual yet incurably romantic, irresistible and exasperating by turns, but always vitally human.

Publisher: London : Harvill Secker, 2011.
ISBN: 9781846554964
1846554969
Branch Call Number: FIC Lodge
Characteristics: 565 p.

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wendybradley
Sep 22, 2016

I did not like H G Wells one little bit by the time I abandoned this read. I agree with the author of another review here, this book, concentrates on Well's attitude to women in such a way I found him repellent. The little we are told about the women in his life makes me want to know more about them, not him. And yet, I knew there must be more to him than his shabby treatment of women. What was the author's intention? I'm unsure about this.

u
uncommonreader
Jan 08, 2013

In this fictionalized biography of Wells, Lodge focuses almost exclusively on Wells' relationships with women. There is no insight provided into the man who was part of the Fabian movement, wrote "War of the Worlds" and as a journalist, interviewed both Lenin and Stalin. In addition, the women are presented only as objects of Wells' lust and/or love, not as interesting people in their own rights. Even the arguments about free love are presented outside of any political context. Finally, Wells' voice does not ring true. I doubt that he used phrases like "her New Women stuff"!

m
maven
Oct 26, 2011

So boring. I felt like I was reading a rather dry nonfiction book that didn't keep my interest at all, so I just gave up.

k
kmoyer
Aug 07, 2011

I found this novel about HG Wells an interesting hybrid. It strongly resembles a biography in that the narrative mainly covers events that actually occurred between people and relationships that actually existed, including direct quotations from publications, speeches and letters. Yet, it remains a novel, as Lodge is revealing characters’ thoughts, discussions and some details which he freely admits he has created himself although basing his ‘inventions’ on factual sources. I felt his technique was successful in his aim of re-introducing the public to Wells’ complex personality, audacity, enthusiasm and literary influence. Also, as one reviewer has noted, Lodge’s portrayal of Wells’ second wife Jane, reveals a truly remarkable person.

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