Books Magazine

Next Up: Loving

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

Let’s get this out of the way:

I have no idea who Henry Green is, and I have never heard of his novel, Loving.

What kind of a name is Loving for a novel anyway? Was Seeing or Being or Doing unavailable? Maybe I’ll understand soon enough.

To help me, and maybe you, get started figuring out what the fuss is about Loving and Henry Green, let’s look at some quick facts about the novel:

  • Loving, originally published in 1945, sounds a lot like the modern TV series, Downton Abbey, on its surface. The story focuses on an Irish aristocratic family during the Second World War–with the plot centering on them and their servants.
  • In an interview with The Paris Review, Green said he got the idea for Loving from a manservant who served in the Fire Service during the war.
  • Time Magazine called Henry Green a “British Thomas Pynchon” because he only agreed to be photographed from behind.
  • In his younger years, Green worked on a factory floor for a year. This experience helped him appreciate a different class of society, which helped inspire many of his novels, including Loving.
  • Elizabeth Bowen, W.H. Auden, and John Updike have all given Henry Green and Loving high praise. More to come on that.
  • Here’s a positive review of Loving, and here’s a negative review of Loving.

Even in a world where you can practically find anything you need to know on the internet, there’s not a ton of information out there about this novel.

Sure, there’s basic stuff. But in comparison to most of the novels on the Time list, I might have a difficult time finding supplemental information about this one.

That said, do you have any experience with Henry Green or Loving? Please fill me in if you do.

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