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Village af Marghanita Laski

Village (original 1952; udgave 2004)

af Marghanita Laski

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1786115,439 (4.14)28
Forfattere:Marghanita Laski
Info:Persephone Books (2004), Paperback, 312 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:persephone, fiction

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The Village af Marghanita Laski (1952)


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This book was a bit out of my comfort zone as I normally read contemporary books. The Village was written in 1952 and the story starts on the day that the war in Europe ended. Mrs Wendy Trevor, an upper class woman with no money, and Mrs Edith Wilson, a working class woman whose family are making a decent wage, go for the last time to the Red Cross post. The war has thrown them together and class differences were no longer important, but with the end of the war Wendy expects things to go back to normal, but Edith and other people in a similar social position know that they are no longer to be quite so looked down upon. When Wendy's daughter and Edith's son take a shine to each other it causes some consternation in the village.

I thought this was an excellent and interesting look at the class system and village politics. I really liked the growing relationship between Margaret Trevor and Roy Wilson and was rooting for them not to be deterred by the villagers. The working classes certainly came off the best in this novel! It made me smile and the author has a wry sense of humour in her writing. ( )
1 stem nicx27 | Jul 8, 2015 |
What I like about Marghanita Laski’s books (of the ones I’ve read so far) is that they’re all different in subject matter, but they’re all very similar, too. Little Boy Lost and The Victorian Chaise Lounge, as well as The Village, all deal with the theme of chaos and how it impacts social structure. Her novels are also about how her characters deal with the effects of that chaos.

The Village opens on the day that WWII ends in Europe. The people of Priory Hill join their fellow Englishman in rejoicing over the end of the war. But what a lot of them don’t realize is that a way of life, consisting of rigid class hierarchy, is over; or if they do, they try to cling to it. The Trevors are one such family; although they’ve “come down, they still cling to the idea that they’re gentry. So it’s a complete shock to them when their daughter, Margaret, strikes up a friendship with Roy Wilson, a young printer whose mother was a housekeeper.

The Village is not your usual tale of the life of a county village; it’s the story of one community’s attempt to deal with the shift in perspective that occurred after the war. It illustrates the fact that social status is merely an illusion. In some ways, Margaret and Roy represent the “new way” of doing things. In all, this novel is an excellent representation of how WWII affected people--not so much the soldiers but civilians. ( )
3 stem Kasthu | Mar 2, 2013 |
Priory Dean is a small village, near to London. It is essentially rural but near enough to the city to start to be attractive for people who want to commute into the city. These people are not the kind that those who live in the Priory Hill area of the village would welcome. Priory Hill is where the better people live, those of the upper-middle class. They aren't necessarily wealthy, indeed some of them are in dire financial straits, but they consider themselves to be the moral leaders of the village. Unlike the working-class people who live down at Staion Road and how are mainly beyond the notice of the Priory Hill set.

The Village opens on the night that victory is declared in Europe in 1945. Wendy (from Priory Hill) and Edith (Station Road resident) meet up for their final night of duty at the Red Cross post. The war has brought these two very different women together across the class divide but the end of war leads to the resumption of their proper places - socially important woman and her 'char'.

The story continues and shows up the English class hypocrisies and the real nastiness of people concerned with retaining their place in society. The introduction of an American who doesn't understand the subtleties of this life emphasises these very English characteristics. Many of the characters are deeply unplesant, Wendy in particular, and Marghanita Laski does have some fun at their expense. This isn't a complex portrayal of the English rural middle classes in the immediate post-war years, but it feels very authentic! ( )
2 stem charbutton | Jul 22, 2010 |
The Village, first published in 1952, begins on the very day the war ended. Two women, who have been firm friends during the war, go as usual to the Red Cross Post. Here they spend the night as they always had done, chatting over a cup of tea. As dawn breaks they lock the door 'but still they lingered, unwilling finally to end this night and the years behind it. '"There's a lot of us will miss it," Edith said. "We've all of us felt at times, you know, how nice it was, like you and me being able to be together and friendly, just as if we were the same sort, if you know what I mean." "I'll miss it a lot too," Wendy said. There was no point in her saying that it could go on now, the friendliness and the companionship and the simple human liking of one woman for another. Both knew that this breaking down of social barriers was just one of the things you got out of the war, but it couldn't go on.'

The main theme of The Village is that Wendy's attempt to cling on to her old way of life was already under pressure by 1939 and had become even more out-of-date by 1945. It is Edith who is the New Britain, with her prosperous son and her commonsense and indeed kindness. Wendy, with her snobbery and her refusal to change and her uncompromising attitude to her daugher, is the Old. When Labour swept to a landslide victory in 1945 'Attlee's government promised a fairer future for all and no going back to the inequalities of the pre-war world,' writes Juliet Gardiner in her Afterword to this Persephone edition of The Village.

When Wendy goes back up the road to Wood View on Priory Hill 'where the gentry lived' and Edith goes downhill on the other side, 'down Station Road among the working classes', they both assume that the values and habits of pre-war Britain will continue. But Britain has already changed a great deal, a change symbolised by Edith's son Roy, a printer with excellent prospects, falling in love with the penniless Margaret, Wendy's daughter. 'The story of the romance between the two of them forms the central narrative of the novel,' Juliet Gardiner continues, 'and the attitude of the other villagers when the news gets out illuminates their understanding - or rejection - of the village's elaborately calibrated social stratification. This is a finely-observed novel about the losses and gains of the Second World War, how hopeless and how isolating it would be to hold onto the past, how illusory was the notion that the war had broken down class barriers, or had managed to save "deep England" from the future and how peace, too, would produce its own list of casualties.

It is also about the futility of 'keeping up appearances', the boredom of middle-class women with nothing to do, even the realisation that cooking and housework had to be streamlined if theose women were to take their place in society. But above all The Village is an extremely enjoyable and well-written novel evoking an entire community (there is a long cast of characters at the beginning) and a whole way of life, and has one of the most ancient plots in the world - a young couple who fall in love but are forbidden to marry.
2 stem antimuzak | Aug 2, 2007 |
Marghanita Laski's The Village was first published in 1952, and has recently been reissued by Persephone Books, but I picked up an old book club edition from the early 1950s at the Staffs Bookshop in Lichfield, Staffordshire. I didn't know what to expect, and I was very pleasantly surprised. The novel opens at the end of World War II. Peace has just been declared, and the people of Priory Dean are celebrating—all except Mrs. Trevor and Mrs. Wilson, who, as they have done for the past six years, take up their posts at the Red Cross and spend the evening chatting over cups of tea. Mrs. Trevor is a member of the village gentry, with an old house on Priory Hill. Before the war, working-class Mrs. Wilson from down on Station Road was Mrs. Trevor's "char," but the war has brought them together. Now the war is over, and the village faces new challenges as it struggles to piece together its crumbling class structure. It's difficult, especially now that the gentry are struggling to make ends meet and the sons of the working class—the Poor People—are bringing home fifteen quid a week. Soon Churchill and the Conservatives are out and Labour is in—bringing to power working class men like Aneurin Bevan, architect of the National Health Service and far-left bogeyman to the Tories. But the cracks in the old class system really begin to show when Miss Margaret Trevor and Roy Wilson fall in love. It's a wonderful story—beautifully written, bitter and hilarious, full of tenderness and anger—about the end, for better or worse, of a traditional way of life. Sarah Crompton wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "If anyone asked me to describe life in post-war Britain, I would suggest they read The Village, a story of lovers divided by class that tells you more about the subtle gradations of life in the Home Counties and the cataclysmic changes wrought by war and a Labour government than any number of plays by J.B. Priestley or more famous tomes by Greene and Waugh." ( )
4 stem rbhardy3rd | Mar 16, 2007 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Marghanita Laskiprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Gardiner, JulietEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Vigtige steder
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for Rebecca Lydia Howard and her grandparents
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The night the war ended, both Mrs Trevor and Mrs Wilson went on duty at the Red Cross Post as usual.
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