Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept…

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (original 1945; edition 1992)

by Elizabeth Smart

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6111515,963 (3.64)35
Title:By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
Authors:Elizabeth Smart
Info:Flamingo (1992), Paperback
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Novella, Fiction, TBR

Work details

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart (1945)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 35 mentions

English (13)  Swedish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Way back in the early '90s, I came across Ashley Hutchings' album "By Gloucester Docks I sat down and wept", an intensely personal folk rock concept album telling the story of a doomed relationship. This book is referenced not just by the title, but because a few lines of it are quoted at a key point in the story. Hutchings' sleeve note says "those who have not read it are recommended to as soon as possible". It took me more than 20 yeasr, but when I saw the book, I was curious enough to buy it.

Elizabeth Smart's novella is an impressionistic "prose poem" short of conventional plot but full of striking language - a book more about feeling than action, but something of a gem nonetheless ( )
  bodachliath | Jul 6, 2015 |
Started off thinking I’d hate this modern classic, having read Brigid Brophy’s foreword describing it as a masterpiece of poetic prose. We’re in love triangle territory, with the underlying tale running from seduction to abandonment, although the reader has to pull the pieces together. The focus is on the narrator’s emotions and she lays claim to a grand passion with extravagant but precise language and imagery drawing on biblical texts and classical myths. As promised (threatened?), this book is more concerned with language, imagery and metaphor than story. However, I’m left with sharper pictures in my head than I ever get from detailed descriptions in straightforward narratives. And while By Grand Central Station could be entirely self indulgent, its unflinching honesty saves it. I enjoyed this book after all. ( )
  Bernadette877 | Feb 22, 2015 |
Loved this when I read it in my 20s. Depressing but so well-written. ( )
  Winspear | Dec 27, 2013 |
To me this short novel is a bit of a conundrum, and I can see both why it was half-abandoned by the public and then turned into a cult classic.

It's written in highly metaphorical, poetic language, and captures the semi-autobiographical story of this woman who falls madly in love with a married man and ships both him and his wife over to America to live with her. She has a passionate affair with him, gets pregnant by him, and ultimately, it all unravels in violent, tragic ways. The language is a mixture of annoying melodramatic somewhat immature phrases that belong in the romantic era, rather than a modernist novel, such as "true love" and "fate", but also some very creative, fascinating images that make you think deeply about the ideas she's communicating and force you to read the novella very slowly.

It's also easy to forgive the talk of "true love" precisely because of the very modern way that the plot turns in very dark directions, with prostitution, the sordid and emotionally fraught nature of this effectively polyamorous relationship, and the very realistic way it disintegrates. The last quarter of the novel, for me, makes it, and elevates it up considerably - but I never completely forgage the author her over-exuberant earlier romantic cliches. ( )
1 vote RachDan | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Smartprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brophy, BrigidForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

Is replied to in

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
to Maximiliane von Upani Southwell
First words
I am standing on a corner in Monterey, waiting for the bus to come in, and all the muscles of my will are holding my terror to face the moment I most desire. Apprehension and the summer afternoon keep drying my lips, prepared at ten-minute intervals all through the five-hour wait.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586090398, Paperback)

Elizabeth Smart's passionate fictional account of her intense love-affair with the poet George Barker, described by Angela Carter as 'Like MADAME BOVARY blasted by lightening ...A masterpiece'. One day, while browsing in a London bookshop, Elizabeth Smart chanced upon a slim volume of poetry by George Barker - and fell passionately in love with him through the printed word. Eventually they communicated directly and, as a result of Barker's impecunious circumstances, Elizabeth Smart flew both him and his wife from Japan, where he was teaching, to join her in the United States. Thus began one of the most extraordinary, intense and ultimately tragic love affairs of our time. They never married but Elizabeth bore George Barker four children and their relationship provided the impassioned inspiration for one of the most moving and immediate chronicles of a love affair ever written - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. Originally published in 1945, this remarkable book is now widely identified as a classic work of poetic prose which, more than six decades later, has retained all of its searing poignancy, beauty and power of impact.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
49 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.64)
0.5 2
1 4
2 7
2.5 3
3 26
3.5 9
4 33
4.5 7
5 23

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,853,000 books! | Top bar: Always visible