Party Going by Henry Green


Henry green the non de plume of Henry Vincent Yorke  was one of the bright young things of the twenties ,he was born Tewksbury and went to Eton and Oxford he knew Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh his two great contemporaries of the time .and was considered a modernist writer along side Virginia Woolf ,frank Kermode describe the book as a mythical allusion .

The book centres on a group of the bright young things  as they are due to travel to a country house party all the rage them days ,but are delayed over night due to the london fog ,stopping the train and are confined to the nearest hotel ,the station hotel .so as the hotel fills we meet max and his beauty of an on off girlfriend the beautiful Anabella ,in no doubt based on one of the numerous beauties of the bright young thing era .,we also dash in and out of the servants as the dutifully look after the belonging of the party ,so over the space of the book and the next four hours we find out bits about the characters and there lives which on the surface seem rich and for-filled ,in fact aren’t that much .There lives being quite one dimensional party ,image and keeping up with the friends.

It did make Julia nervous and she moved to Alex where he happened to be teasing Angela because he might be nervous too which would comfort her .People who weren’t nervous were useless because they didn’t know what it meant ,but however he was ,and if he wasn’t than Julia felt she would like to make him be ,he would comfort her after all he was a man .

early on Julia and Max and the station

The is much humor in this book and also pathos for the characters as there obviously based on some of greens circle at the time ,the story does at time darts here and there and is quite hard to follow at times but it all adds to the hustle and bustle of the busy station ,on surface this is a great story ,whether Kerrmode’s was right about the links to Greek myths is right I can’t fully tell there are passages in this book that reminds me of what little I ve read of greek myths ,but I ve not the knowledge of greek myths to go in to full depth so as a story of four hours in a hectic station hotel as a group of characters in  the thirties it works for me the shallowness of the main characters is all to easy to see ,also how the people who deal with them I.E the servant struggle at times with their madness .A great read and there first of the three bright young thing books I ve chosen to read a review of Waugh decline and fall will follow .and a review of Anthony Powell very soon .

October 2010


%d bloggers like this: