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The L-Shaped Room (1960)

av Lynne Reid Banks

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Serier: L-Shaped Room (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6001229,237 (3.87)34
Jane is unmarried and pregnant when she is turned out by her father. She lights on a room at the top of a squalid house. She cares nothing for it, or her neighbours. But it is these neighbours that draw her back into life - Toby, a Jewish writer, John, a jazz player, and even her landlady.
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» Se även 34 omnämnanden

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At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to appreciate LRB's adult novels. It took awhile to persevere with this 1960 book: the prose had such a run-on-sentences quality to it. And of course I shuddered at the flat in Fulham and some of the heroine’s other social constraints, but to be fair, one does have to put it in the 1960’s context. However, the story was compelling and has such an authentic ring of truth. The characterization of the key characters was outstanding. I wished there was an 'epilogue' though. I yearned to know what ultimately happened between Toby and Jane. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Oct 31, 2017 |
A book of it's time although no-where in the league of Cathy Come Home - unwed,and pregnant in London. I am pretty sure that later editions of this book have been 'tinkered' with to reflect a change in language from the 50s - I know they have anyway sine the blurbs on the back of early editions and moderns editions differ. If you enjoy a wallow in filth and grime of bedsitting London with a oh let's be positive and independent heroine all tied up neatly in a bow at the end in a rather cliche fashion then here you go.Middle-class tries to do struggle and poverty. In the words of Pulp - if you call your Daddy he can stop it all. ( )
  MarianneHusbands | Feb 5, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this novel, and was surprised by how 'modern' it seemed, despite being published in 1960. Jane Graham, the narrator, gets knocked up after her first and disastrous love affair, and has to move into a grotty bedsit - the L-shaped room - when her father throws her out. Apart from the social reaction to Jane's condition, and a rather unattractive streak of passive racism, this could almost be a proto chick lit novel. The formula is there - career girl with an unsuccessful love life, various male friends, including (shockingly, for the time) a black man, eccentric relatives, and a happy ever after with the faithful lover. Even the standard combination of wicked humour - 'That's always the trouble with picking a husband. However much you like a man, it's never enough to last for life' - and sappy romance - 'The pool that had been so jarringly empty when I took my premeditated dive into with Terry, I fell into with Toby and found it full of champagne' - will be familiar to modern readers.

Lynne Reid Banks tells a slightly cliched story with biting honesty, however. Jane's attitude to her black neighbour and her middle class snobbery fit the conservative insularity of the 1950s, whereas her independence is more a sign of the decade to come. Jane herself is selfish, stubborn and a host of similarly unlikeable qualities, but also smart and very funny. I loved her boss James, her elderly neighbour Mavis, and her wonderfully Wodehousian aunty Addy, but all of the characters are finely drawn, if not totally original.

Definitely one of the classic novels of the era. ( )
1 rösta AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 26, 2012 |
*spoliers alert*

Anyway, I suppose I got the idea.

I suppose the most interesting thing was the girl's very Victorian manners (and way of speaking), although I suppose that shouldn't be too surprising: 1960 was alot closer to 1890 than we are.

I even started to like it, which wasn't what I was expecting from this sort of poor-girl-meets-harsh-world book.

Maybe it's because she was middle class...

And you gotta love the odd sorts she falls in with.

Persephone in a different way, if you follow.

And she (Banks) even did a nice job with the dad. Fair, I mean.

And even when it stings, it's certainly very real. And *very* Open, especially for such a Victorian girl.

And like the French guy from Black Swan (Natalie Portman) said, people can be so damn destructive...

And didn't Frank McCourt say something like, When I think about my childhood, it's a miracle that I even survived it at all.

And I only found one thing that was said to be really unkind, and it wasn't even said by the protagonist, or in the L-Shaped Room.

So I suppose I'll just add it to the mental list of novels with useless-moron-fake-intellectual characters, men and women, although I suppose I forget it all eventually, I'm sure I do, because I just don't know what I'd do if I didn't.

Anyway, I know I'm more like John than the typewriter loser or the letter-writing loser. The fucking snob, is that all you're good for? As useless as Plato on the firing range, that one.

I know nobody wants my opinion--nobody ever did, not even when we read this sort of crap in school, although those books had NO art, they'd about one-tenth of the skill, and twelve times the whining, because the public school, the state school, that House of Lies, does things wrong, more or less on principle...but my opinion, my only opinion, is that I don't see why people think they've any right to be unhappy, and ruin their lives, I say they've no right to ruin their lives and be unhappy, and that's what I've got from Epictetus and his friend Simplicius, and if they think that makes me a fascist, then that's because they of the state school worship that fascist prince Machiavelli, and they even made me write little essays about him, the fucking useless fuckers, and what the fuck would those little nuns know about any L-Shaped Room, eh?

"The black light".

Anyway.

"At the door she shook hands with me and wished me luck. 'May I give you a piece of advice?' she asked gently. 'I know how difficult it must be to tell people the truth. But do try. I'm sure it's better.'
I'd known all the time that it would be. But one always has to try the easy way, to prove that in the long run it's harder than the other."

And, after all that, she did have a Father.

" 'I thought that the late frost would be the finish of the bulbs,' he said, 'but it just kept them back a bit. Look at those tulips. Not a curled leaf among the lot. Same with the hyacinths.'
'They're lovely.' I bent again to smell the bushy spikes, but Father stopped me by stooping quickly and snapping one off to give me.
'Oh, don't pick it! It seems so sad.'
'We'll put it in a glass of water. House needs some flowers.' "

But I don't think there's any sequel to that.

Anyway.

Although I do think that the last few pages could have stayed on the editor's desk, mostly because there's no reason to spill ink over a novel that's already finished. Over. Although it was funny, ironic, what she said about the primitive fighting instincts of the male--not that I was offended: after what I'd been through, I couldn't care less, couldn't have been insulted if I'd tried--but it seems to me to be about the same as the writer who goes on writing after his novel is finished, just because he just likes to write--ha!

Anyway.

And in case anyone wants a little P.S. about the perfectly irrelevant issues of race, and her stupid moron boyfriends, well, I think John was the best character in the whole book, and I think she captures their (mostly-harmless, ha!) ways of talking with him perfectly. As for the Disappearing Jew act that the other guy pulls, I just, I thought it sucked, actually. And that other guy, was he a character too? No, but that's okay. Perfectly okay, he doesn't need us--he has Plato.

You know how it is: you give away your type-writer because you're crap for writing, and then you decide to become a monk so you can write out Tolstoy's third novel, long-hand. You'll call it...Tobias Coleman-Cohen. Yeah...

No.

Anyway. Yeah.

(9/10) ( )
1 rösta Tullius22 | Feb 4, 2012 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (2 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Banks, Lynne Reidprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Browne, LanceFotografmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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Jane is unmarried and pregnant when she is turned out by her father. She lights on a room at the top of a squalid house. She cares nothing for it, or her neighbours. But it is these neighbours that draw her back into life - Toby, a Jewish writer, John, a jazz player, and even her landlady.

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