A View of the Harbour

Thoughts by Elizabeth Taylor, Virago Modern Classics 2006 (orig 1947), 304 pages

Introduction by Sarah Waters

Challenge: Buddy Read with Laila of Big Reading Life; Set At or By the Sea Category of #ReadICT

Genre/Theme: Adult Fiction; quiet small British seaside village post-WW2

Type/Source: Tradeback / Purchased at Watermarks Indie bookstore

What It’s About: This story focuses on the inter-relationships of the neighbors living directly on the harbour; from the doctor’s family, the pub workers, the widowed proprietor of a tourist wax museum, the librarian, the vicar, etc. The pivot view to all begins with Bertram, a painter who has moved to the area for the season: to catch the right light off the sea, to capture the perfect seascape, to be “an artist”. He fancies himself a man-of-the-people as he rudely? comically? insinuates himself into the neighborhood. A lot of life happens in this book.

“Always intelligent, often subversive, and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person’s dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, ice wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail – the perfect toast to the quiet horror of domestic life.”

Valerie martin

Thoughts: I love this author. True, her stories do not have a lot of action exactly, but they have drama! and depth and comedy, beautiful sentences and interesting glimpses into every character – the good and the bad, the endearing, the appalling. Ah, not really! not that much appalling exactly. Well, maybe. (One more reason I love classics – humans have always been dastardly and behaved badly, amiright?)

“I know who to,” Beth said, shocked to find herself ending with a preposition. But she was much thrown out by the surprise of it all.”

Rating: Four slices of pie. LOTS of whipped cream. Shepherd’s Pie mentioned

“Forking up shepherd’s pie with an expression of contempt.”

 

 

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4 thoughts on “A View of the Harbour

  1. I loved this! She’s brilliant at capturing human emotions. I thought Tory was very selfish and an awful friend but at least she did feel conflicted. Beth’s husband seemed like a total drip, ha ha. It did take me a while to get into all the many viewpoints! Did it take you a while?

    1. Yes, at first, the introduction of so many of the characters was overwhelming but once their bits got a little longer, then I was able to check back on that first chapter to better establish who was who.

      And I don’t think Sarah Waters’ Introduction was as revealing as I feared, but I’m glad I read it after.

        1. LOL – I was so excited to read her thoughts! I had to specifically order THAT copy, so I wasn’t going to forget.

          I love reading author book reviews. One of the best things about the Atwood essay collection I’m almost done with is how many book reviews it has.

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