I read #89 of the Modern Library’s list of top 100 novels: Loving by Henry Green.
This is an upstairs-downstairs story set in an Irish country house during World War II. The story is almost completely composed of dialogue. I had trouble getting into it at first, especially because the downstairs characters have quite the British accents.
Like all good upstairs-downstairs stories, there’s infidelity, troublemaking, camaraderie, and theft (of both hearts and money). What I really enjoyed about Green’s writing is the exquisite details he would slip in now and then—making me pause and marvel.
Here are a few favorite lines:
“She pushed the ashtray with one long lacquered oyster nail across the black slab of polished marble supported by a dolphin layered in gold.”
” He seemed to appraise the dark eyes she sported which were warm and yet caught the light like plums dipped in cold water.”
“Raunce went on looking sideways past her at the red eye of a deer’s stuffed head.”
If you still miss Downton Abbey as I do, this book will bring temporary reprieve…