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Venables by Geoffrey Wagner
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Venables

by Geoffrey Wagner

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“Venables” was Wagner's first novel written in the US, published in 1952 while he was studying for his PhD at Columbia University, New York. It is an accomplished work, relating the progress of its principal character, David Bellingham between the age of ten and the onset of WWII. David has an awkward relationship with his rich mother Catherine, in Venables, her substantial country house and farm. Catherine treats him cruelly, and weaves a deceitful atmosphere based on lies about her dead husband Waldo. The book has a strongly autobiographical feel to it, including many similarities with Wagner's own schooldays, his short time at Oxford, abbreviated by the outbreak of war, and his enlistment as an officer. Its storyline follows an intriguing path through blighted young love, interactions with the family servants, and the history of the old family home. Of the Wagner novels I have read this one is the most approachable, entertaining, and easiest to read. ( )
1 vote CliffordDorset | Aug 17, 2015 |
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