Anna Karenina was one, when I was 19, and Party Going was another, a few years later, read at a single sitting in a dark corner of the college library.
Dean Cornwell, Options,oil on canvas. So has Graham Greene, who blanched despair into a weary disillusionment; the contemporary thriller is inconceivable without him. In such early novels as Living and Party Going he experimented with dropping out the definite articles in a way that gave his language a tense angularity, the nouns and prepositions Back by henry green essay on each other, uncushioned: Water drops made rings in clear coloured water.
Welty probably put it best. For a long time, though, it seemed as if only other writers had spotted him. In the early fifties, he was often described as the most innovative novelist in England; by the eighties, he looked always in need of introduction. His American editions went in and out of print, and I had to order his autobiography, Pack My Bag, from abroad; those of us who read him got a lot of practice in explaining who he was, the Green without an e.
Or maybe not Green at all. The young man then became a laborer on the floor of the Birmingham shop. The workers thought his father was punishing him for some indiscretion, but what really drew him was the chance to step outside his own life.
He had always been fascinated by speech, by idiolect and dialect alike, and the factory offered him the chance to listen, to catch at voices unlike his own. That experience gave him Living, with its lathe operators and metal casters, and the eighteen months he worked among them set the pattern for the rest of his professional life.
Henry Yorke would pass his days in the London offices of the family firm; Henry Green wrote over lunch and at night. The next decade went slowly, but the war seemed to free him. After that the books came quickly, a novel every two years at least.
Eventually there were nine of them, and then silence. Nevertheless, his fiction from Living on is all marked by two things. One is his reliance on irresolution, his refusal of narrative neatness. Two girls in Concluding disappear one morning; one of them never returns, and her absence remains forever unexplained.
The truth cannot be known, and this takes me to the other thing that links his books: Do they know it?
For Green, it was a possibility, and one he exploited above all in Doting and its predecessor Nothingthe dialogue-novels with which he ended his career. His earlier books are marked by a great dazzlement of descriptive prose.
But in his last novels, Green does away with almost all of that. Nearly every page in both Nothing and Doting seems a run of unadorned talk, one voice pinging off another, and something else gets pared back as well. His earlier books mixed characters of different classes and backgrounds, people brought together by the accidents of work or weather or war.
In these, however, his characters all belong to the same class, belong indeed to his own, and these consciously narrow books share a thematic burden as well, a concern with the relation of middle age to the sexual life.
Doting in particular is constructed with the almost mathematical rigor of farce. There are six speaking parts—two men and a woman, a couple of girls and a boy—and almost every scene is a duet staged over a meal or a drink.
What would you feel if you were me? But they carry the illogical truth of many marital grievances, and Green has no intention of letting one know how Diana feels in herself, let alone how her husband would feel if he were her.
Maybe she could tell him how she feels—but how, on such a subject, would he know whether or not to trust her?
Green wrote almost nothing outside of his novels, but he did attempt to explain his reliance on dialogue in a series of BBC broadcasts. We certainly do not know what other people are thinking and feeling.
How then can the novelist be so sure? Human meaning is ever uncertain, the moral and emotional bearing of any action unclear. The same sentence can mean a dozen different things, and we inevitably misapprehend the intentions that lie behind it.
The written word is estranging, and Green liked it that way. Green believed one should never read fiction aloud, and on the page his dialogue proves far more enigmatic than it would be if spoken, more elliptical than any actual human contact.
Few people are as mysterious after twenty years as they are on a first meeting—except in the novels of Henry Green."Back" by Henry Green is a well written and impressive story about a man returning from World War II to find his love Rose dead.
He is lame due to an injury in the war and has a hard time accepting normality back in the UK/5. Hiding: Looking for Henry Green.
Essay by Daniel Green — Published on September 12, Back by Henry Green. NYRB Classics. pp, $ Loving by Henry Green.
NYRB Classics. pp, $ Daniel Green is a literary critic whose essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, both online and in print. Reviewing The Novel Back By Henry Green English Literature Essay; 5 November date Publication Sons Putnam's Heinlein A, Robert Author cover edition First Troopers Starship G Publisher novel Philosophical fiction science Military Genre English Language States United Country Heinlein P A Robert writer American by novel fiction science military a .
Henry Green (–) 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 monstermanfilm.coms: 3.
In the excerpt from Back by Henry Green, Green tells the sorrows of a young man (Charley) returning from war.
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