Sunday, 25 May 2014

ANNA OF THE FIVE TOWNS by Arnold Bennett

Certain novels remain in circulation only because their authors are famous for other, much better books. Such is ANNA OF THE FIVE TOWNS.

The story revolves around Anna Tellwright, a young woman whose father is a controlling miser. She is courted by the local heart throb, Henry Mynors, and agrees to marry him. She is however actually in love with a certain Willy Price, but is such a giant wimp that she never articulates that fact to herself, and so ends up marrying Mynors. Willie meanwhile is disgraced when his father's financial dealings are revealed, and so the village buys him a ticket to Australia. In despair, he throws himself into a well, and In a bizarre anti-climax, no one finds out about his suicide but assume he is Australia, that country being apparently the same as being dead.

However, there is a visit to a pottery factory, which is interesting. How do you like this, regarding the female potters: "An infinitesimal proportion of them, from among the branch known as ground-layers, die of lead-poisoning, a fact which adds pathos to their frivolous charm." Not exactly Marx and Engels, is it.

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