To the North

To the North

Book - 1945
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A young woman's secret love affair leads to a violent and tragic act in one of Elizabeth Bowen's most acclaimed novels. To the North centers on two young women in 1920s London, the recently widowed Cecilia Summers and her late husband's sister, Emmeline. Drawn to each other in the wake of their loss, the two set up house together and gradually become more entwined than they know.

But the comfortable refuge they have made is "a house built on sand"; both realize it cannot last. While Cecilia, capricious and unsure if she can really love anyone, moves reluctantly toward a second marriage, Emmeline, a gentle and independent soul, is surprised to find the calm tenor of her life disturbed for the first time by her attraction to the predatory Mark Linkwater. Bowen's psychological acuity is on full display in a conclusion that plumbs the depths of this seemingly detached young woman in a single, life-shattering moment.
Publisher: London : Penguin Books, 1945, c1960.
ISBN: 9780140183061
Branch Call Number: FIC Bowen
FIC/Bowen 3588mb 1
Characteristics: 246 p. --


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Jun 16, 2013

As I would expect from Elizabeth Bowen, a very powerfully interesting novel. She seems to me a master not merely of setting the scene and catching aspects like a master sketch artist (something that also awed me about James Joyce - which gives an idea of the esteem in which I hold her) but of having stories in which far more is implied and suggested than one might think possible for the size (relatively short) of the work.

Of course, tastes vary as well as what kind of novel we are looking for at a given time.

I should remark that years ago when I first read the book I was discouraged by how the characters and their situation hit me in the first pages and my negative reaction kept me from really 'experiencing' the book as I read it. This time it hit me very very differently and I realised that it is not the characters in themselves but what might be called the 'energy' of kinds of confusion and interactions revealed that are fascinating, especially as revealed by one of the greatest of modern writers..

Apr 16, 2013

Tried a couple of chapters. Outdated style and I could not even begin to care for either of the two key characters. Did not finish.

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