29 January, 2012

Living by Henry Green (1929)

Creating literature is very much a middle class pursuit and Henry Green, son of a wealthy industrialist, is no exception. But what is different about Living is that here he gives voice to the industrial workers of Birmingham of the 1920s. I don't know of any other novel set in an iron foundry and Green’s use of regional working class dialogue is central to this work’s authenticity. There is more than a hint of self-loathing here too in his vapid, nose-picking portrayal of the foundry owners' son. And yet, despite the bleak existence of the working men and women (in particular), I found Living an uplifting experience. 

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