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The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
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The Rainbow (1915)

by D. H. Lawrence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brangwen Family (1)

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2,790262,093 (3.69)1 / 110
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English (24)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Three books into working my way chronologically through Lawrence’s novels, and he’s yet to move outside of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire (I’ve also read the later Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which also takes place in Notts). The Rainbow follows the Brangwen family through several generations, from the 1840s through to 1905. It starts with the family patriarch before eventually settling on Ursula, who comes of age at the turn of the century, is fiercely ambitious, and ends up teaching at a local school. It’s a more structured novel than The White Peacock and Sons and Lovers, although only inasmuch as the passage of years provides a framework for the story – it still has a tendency to randomly move from one member of the family to another, and it’s not always clear where the novel’s focus lies. But Lawrence’s descriptive prose, particularly in regard to the landscape, shines; and he brings his usual detailed, if occasionally heavy-handed, eye to the emotional landscapes of his cast. I set out to work my way through Lawrence’s oeuvre because a read of Lady Chatterley’s Lover persuaded me I’d been missing out by avoiding him, and because my father was a huge Lawrence fan. The more I’ve read, the more I too have become a fan of his writing – and collecting the books is fun too, of course. ( )
  iansales | Jul 24, 2015 |
Hm, this one is a bit of a puzzle for me. At first, I was engrossed in it, both the style of writing and the story. But after a while, probably about the halfway point, I was no longer enjoying myself. It was a bit like going on one of those spinning rides at an amusement park and realizing you're starting to feel queasy, but you just have to stick it out to the end.

But that's getting ahead of myself. The book itself is a chronicle of multiple generations of the Brangwen family in England. People marry, or pursue relationships and find those relationships mostly incomprehensible. This is something I liked in the early going - the way that Lawrence describes concrete things through abstract language. It's like an impressionist painting in words. Full sentences, with subjects and verbs? Not required. Repeating words in close proximity to each other? If that's the word Lawrence wants, he's going to use it. Doesn't matter if he just used it in the previous sentence. Thesauri are for the weak.

After a couple of generations of Brangwens had come to maturity, I was less enamored with Lawrence's style and began wanting some clear sentences that said what was actually going on. At one point, obviously the word repetition game had gotten to me, too, because I just wrote "fecund fecund fecund ICK." So, overall, I came out of this feeling reminded of those relationships where every little quirk your beloved has is adorable, but eventually you start hating exactly those same adorable little traits. I wouldn't actually say I ended up hating the book, or Lawrence, but the first blush of attraction has faded.

Recommended for: people who don't say "my 4-year-old could paint that" at abstract art exhibits, fans of Terence Malick films

Quote: One evening, suddenly, he saw the tiny, living thing rolling naked in the mother's lap, and he was sick, it was so utterly helpless and vulnerable and extraneous; in a world of hard surfaces and varying altitudes, it lay vulnerable and naked at every point. ( )
1 vote ursula | Aug 18, 2014 |
David Lodge's blurb for this is: "Lawrence is the most Dostoevskian of English novelists." He means that both sides of an ideological dispute get their say; here, individual vs community, religion vs materialism, idealism vs realism all get played out in the consciousness of individual characters. They occasionally talk to each other, but mainly they feel or think in a rather disconnected and puzzling manner. Lodge might also have said D.H. was Dostoevskian in the sense that he desperately needs an editor, that his books are repetitive (sometimes interestingly, sometimes mindlessly), and that his characters are less characters and more personifications of specific emotions, which, in the face of all my English Lit training (i.e., demands that we not trace books back to the author's mind), I will say are probably leftover from the author's adolescence. In short, if you want a picture of a world in which everyone is either a robot or a teenager, this is a pretty good depiction. That doesn't mean that robots and teenagers aren't interesting. Just that sometimes I really wanted a rational, free adult to have their say. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
This one was okay. If you’re looking for a classic English novel there are a lot better ones to choose from. My main complaint is that there would be a whole section devoted to one generation, but once you moved onto the next section with the next generation there would hardly be any mention of the first set of characters. At one point there was mention of one of the characters from the first section, only to let you know that they had died two years prior. It seemed really abrupt, like Lawrence got sick of the characters he’d written about and wanted to focus on and introduce some new ones – reader be damned! I guess [Women in Love] is a sequel devoted to two of the younger Brangwens so I’ll be reading that at some point to what happens to them. ( )
  aliciamay | Apr 18, 2013 |
I thought that the first half, describing the early life of Anna, was great. Through 'Anna Victorix', I would have said that this was one of the best books I had ever read. The writing was beautiful and very moving at times. The characters were very sympathetic and, in this book, that mattered greatly for me. The second half, which described the early life of Ursula was not as satisfying. There were wonderful scenes and some more beautiful writing, but the storyline seemed awkward and forced at times. At the end, Ursula carries much of the weight of communicating the author's view of industrial society, but she is so changable and relies so much of emotion that she is not a reliable, or maybe just not a convincing, voice by the end. ( )
  barringer | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
D. H. Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fernihough, AnneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hardy, BarbaraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinkead-Weekes, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Worthen, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Brangwens had lived for generations on the Marsh Farm, in the meadows where the Erewash twisted sluggishly through alder trees, separating Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140006923, Paperback)

A novel, which chronicles the lines of three generations of the Brangwen family over a period of 60 years, set against the emergence of modern England.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:15 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"Chronicles the lives of three generations of the Brangwen family, setting them against the emergence of modern England. This work examines the relationships and the conflicts they bring, and the inextricable mingling of the physical and the spiritual"--NoveList.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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