The Last September characters ☆ 0

free read ☆ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook í Elizabeth Bowen

free read ☆ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook í Elizabeth Bowen The Last September is Elizabeth Bowen's portrait of a young woman's coming of age in a brutalized time and place where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of historyIn at their country home in County Cork Sir Richard Naylor and his wife Lady Myra and their friends maint. This novel was first published in 1929 one of the classics of literature of the time and my first experience with Elizabeth Bowen’s writingOne of the first things I found interesting was the great care the author took in keeping the story relatively dispassionate throughout In doing so she reflected the attitudes of the people she wrote about and the times they lived inIt is Ireland “between the wars”; a time when England had sent out the “Black and Tans” with the expressed purpose of keeping law and order in a country experiencing many internal battles History tells us this was a mistake although who really knows Things did not end well but it is impossible to say if they would have ended better had Ireland been allowed to sort through their civil wars on their ownThis story is about relationships relatives relatives of relatives friends and their relatives It is also about a family whose roots are deeply Irish yet they are part of the aristocracy and possibly the roots of their roots were EnglishIt was fascinating to listen in on their conversations talking at past or through each other Sometimes two people would hold an entire conversation where each is expressing responses to their individual thoughts rather than to the words of other person And there were many of these conversations The hosts Sir Richard and Lady Naylor Lois Sir Richard’s niece and Lawrence Lady Naylor’s nephew had house guests through the summer and into SeptemberThere were parties garden parties tennis parties and even dances for the young people where young ladies were hand picked and invited as dance partners for the young subalterns in their own small town of huts and barracksEveryone including the militia seemed to ignore the skirmishes that broke out from time to time For some it was beneath their notice; for others it was a condition they preferred to forget or ignore or to simply carry on regardless of the scuffles and clashesDespite the tone of this novel and my own attempts to understand everyone’s motivations I found myself caring about these characters and their concerns – whether or not they were able to express them directlyI also learned from this novel than I thought I had and I enjoyed it enough that I look forward to reading of Elizabeth Bowen’s writing in the future

review The Last September

The Last September characters ☆ 0 Â ✅ [PDF / Epub] ☉ The Last September By Elizabeth Bowen ⚣ – The Last September is Elizabeth Bowen's portrait of a young woman's coming of age in a brutalized time and place where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of historyIn 1 The Last Se Ain a skeptical attitude toward the events going on around them but behind the facade of tennis parties and army camp dances all know that the end is approaching the end of British rule in the south of Ireland and the demise The Last eBook #204 of a way of life that had survived for centuries Their n. So I’m not a huge fan of Important Subject books Books that modestly proclaim on their jackets that they are Essential Reading about a Crucial Time in history that reveal Human Truths about our Darkest Hours or authors who set soap operas in times of great stress that come with their own built in pile of cultural garbage so as to do the emotional work that their depiction of a relationship is not capable of doing It’s almost worse when authors like this attempt to deepen their surface drama that’s when we end up with Flowery Metaphors really should have been left back in the thesaurus they came fromElizabeth Bowen’s book could have been one of these It could have been a story of a young girl who falls in love with a young boy in a star crossed situation as Divided Loyalties draw single tears down their cheeks It could have also been the story of Bright Young Things and their oblivious parents spinning slowly out of control pushing aside chintz and gauze to look with confusion on the riots in the streets seemingly vaguely Sad before turning back to their dinner party And it was both these things And really not either of them Set in years of the Irish rebellion just after WWI Bowen’s tale shows us a picture of an English ruling class living an increasingly tenuous existence as their lives slowly burn down starting over the horizon where you can just barely make out a change in the air then creeping into the forest with flickers of unsettling light at night “Did you see that Mama” “I am sure it must be your imagination my love” then in oversized shadows at the gate until finally a highly Inappropriate and Dirty man interrupts their dinner The book is objectively about this A society ignoring reality as long as it is conceivably possible its Hear No Evil See No Evil philosophy kept intact by such firm rules and codes of conduct that those who contravene them by a hairsbreadth are immediately identified as The Enemy The only enemy that can be identified in a war where they really can’t choose sides and remain themselves There were parts of this story that were well done I liked the depiction of the aunt and her rigid attempts to control everything she could while she could “Is he supposed to love her” “My wife thinks so Laurence considers he suitably might Her aunt does not think it suitable at all and won’t hear a word of it so he officially doesn’t” the vague presence of the man of the house who couldn’t control anything at all and the conversation amongst the wives of the soldiers and Irish ladies who have to keep reminding themselves who is English and who is Irish But I did feel like Bowen had had a bit of an Idea about this and was so excited to tell me about it she couldn’t stop telling me every few pages throughout most of the book I wish she had trusted herself that she showed me the situation well enough and in so many ways that she didn’t need to tell me about it over and over again as well Not until the end Then yes please show me a man’s heavy boots walking on a red carpet past broken vases scattered roses and fallen chairs and crushing his cigar into the face of a fallen ancestor until it melts under gathering embers It is a delicate thing to convey the last moments of twilight and I know you want to tell everyone about it when you see it But you can’t shout you just can’t I know it is an early work however and I do make allowances for that I think she is making a good point and she does make me feel like the sun is going down and I can’t look away so ultimately she winsAnyway that part of the book isn’t really the reason to read this though I’ve a shelf full of decaying empires and dying eyes and many of them better than this in a lot of ways Bowen’s writing truly shines on another storyline that is the development of the main character Lucy For once the story of the young girl finding herself and falling in love IS the reason to read this and not something to roll one’s eyes at while drinking in the atmosphere Bowen’s rendering of Lois in her transitional stage is gorgeous and evocative and set apart by a special talent She has the ability to teleport me in a blink almost involuntarily into standing in Lois’ shoes and looking out through her eyes There are many books that may tell you things that you remember feeling or thinking as a teenager but how many of them make you remember what it was like to physically be inside the skin of a teenager From the first page this book made me twitch and twist my body in remembered sympathy with Lois She stands out on the drive in front of her house on display “she stood at the top of the steps looking cool and fresh; she knew how fresh she must look like other young girls and clasping her elbows tightly behind her back tried hard to conceal her embarrassment The dogs came pattering out from the hall and stood beside her she wished she could freeze the moment and keep it always But as the car approached as it stopped she stooped down and patted one of the dogs” I could feel Lois’ fingers digging into the bones of her elbows and leaving marks because she can’t think of anything else to do to contain her embarrassment at looking ‘like other young girls’ but to literally hold it underneath her skin I was closing my eyes and feeling the sun and thought how long could I actually do that I’d have to look to the dogs and then I opened them and Lois found refuge in a big comforting dog which meant her hands could do something else something that looked natural while still allowing her to hide her embarrassment With Lois Bowen has no trouble moderating her tone and choosing perfect exuisite words to bring awkward yearning bumbling wanting unsure Lois to life Visitors to her seemingly humdrum life however boring induce an excitement that make her unable to read and yet she “yawns with reaction” when they appear And of course she would be the one to observe that her fingernails were “the only part of one’s person of which it was possible to be conscious socially” Then later it makes so much sense that as she is bursting with excitement at having encountered a possible rebel in the gardens she rushes home but finds as she arrives that “her adventure began to diminish It held ground for a moment as she saw the rug dropped in the hall by Mrs Montncy sprawl like a body across the polish Then confidence disappeared in a waver of shadow among the furniture Conceivably she had just surprised life at a significant angle in the shrubbery But it was impossible to speak of this At a touch from Aunt Myra adventure became literary to Uncle Richard it suggested an inconvenience; a glance from Mr Montncy or Laurence would make her encounter sterile But what seemed most probable was that they would not listen” Of course you can’t tell an adult they wouldn’t understand and its physically painful to think how they might ruin something under their gaze that makes everything normal safe silly or otherwise Real experiences must be treasured and thought over a thousand times but never said out loud Going upstairs without saying goodnight to do just that is the ultimate rebellion I adore Lois I adore that in her faltering halting relationship with Gerald she progresses and does not in a way that is consistent with the awkwardness of a girl who uses her fingernails as a social escape and does not know where her life is going All obstacles don’t melt away because of a strong man who likes her nor is he simply just a faraway man an object of a Prince Charming necessary to complete a picture He tries to start this way offering Lois an uncomplicated unuestioned fairy tale love but faced with a real girl in return he has to confront his own feelings to face her He kisses Lois and it is everything to her and since she is transformed why is not he transformed Why isn’t everything transformed At a party still trying to see her kiss everywhere “She looked for his mouth which had kissed her but found it no different from the mouths of other young men who had also been strolling and pausing between huts in the dark The page of the evening was asterisked over with fervent imaginary kisses And one single kiss in the wind in the dark was no longer particularized she could not remember herself or remember him” And ultimately Bowen creates such a painful climax as she guides Lois painfully slowly gorgeously through to becoming herself and finding a world in which she feels comfortable taking a step forward to choosing a person to be and shows that world ripped away from Lois by random awful chance How horrible is that Finally comfortable enough to join a world you’ve been trained for since birth and it was all lies Lies adults selfishly conspired in guiding you away from what you knew was true until you believed them and thought the fires in the distance mere illusions It happens to everyone when they are finally allowed to walk through the Real World alone in Lois’ case her illusions are literally shot down in the night and then burnt down in front of her rather than the slow gracious realization that most people are permitted Poor Lois This is a book where I would welcome a seuel How do you deal with such a betrayal Does she join the Lost Generation in Paris and lament it in wine and dissipation Does she t

Elizabeth Bowen í 0 read

The Last SeptemberIece Lois Faruar attempts to live her own life and gain her own freedoms from the very class that her elders are vainly defending The Last September depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence both political and spiritual. The screen of trees that reached like an arm from behind the house embracing the lawns banks and terraces in mild ascent had darkened deepening into a forest Like splintered darkness branches pierced the faltering dusk of leaves Evening drenched the trees; the beeches were soundless cataracts Behind the trees pressing in from the open and empty country like an invasion the orange bright sky crept and smouldered For those of us who love close reading the entire arc of this novel is encapsulated in miniature in this paragraph from p22 The house which is one of the main characters in the book a house that has belonged for generations to an Anglo Irish Protestant family of landowners is a kind of oasis once protected by the 'arm' of trees but those very trees themselves have turned sinister and are now the habitat of Sinn Feiners walking through these grounds and burying guns at will What was once a kind of sanctuary is now increasingly looking like an island in an increasingly hostile country Bowen's lexicon is redolent of this sense of foreboding 'darkened' 'deepening' 'splintered' 'pierced' 'faltering' 'dusk' The 'Troubles' that are agitating Ireland in 1920 are 'pressing' in on this enclave of Anglo privilege ironically 'like an invasion' and while they might only be creeping and smouldering at this time they will of course become a 'cataract' This example of Bowen's masterly writing explains I think why she can be seen as a divisive writer some people dislike what is seen as vagueness padding an obliue or even obscure suggestiveness in the text others of us love her for precisely these ualities It's marvellous to me that she appears to be such a fully formed author in this only her second novel when she herself is not yet thirty While the house is one character the book is also filled with human people deftly sketched in even when they're merely marginal Bowen is also attentive to the complications of Irish history not least the ambivalences and liminal position of the Anglo Irish they may express their privilege through a kind of paternalistic care for the 'Irish Irish' but there's no doubting their status from the 'big house' significantly and repeatedly named a 'demesne' with all its feudal connotations to the Oxfordart school in Paris education of their scions At the same time though they're rather deliciously snobbish about the English primarily represented by the local British Army garrison The young army officers officers natch are perfectly fine to escort Anglo Irish girls to tennis parties and dances but heaven forbid they should actually try to marry into this class above them There's an almost Lady Catherine de Burgh scene as Lady Naylor sees off one such engagement Against this politicised background Bowen plays out themes that recur across her novels asymmetrical and unreuited love disillusion and disappointment and a young woman coming to grips with the adult world to which she doesn't uite yet belong An elegiac almost tragic vision haunts this book and lingers beneath the surface of sunny tea parties and picnics