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Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

Mrs. Miniver (original 1939; edition 1940)

by Jan Struther

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4782221,584 (3.96)134
Title:Mrs. Miniver
Authors:Jan Struther
Info:New York, Harcourt, Brace and company [c1940]
Collections:Your library
Tags:vintage, 1940s, WWII, fiction

Work details

Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther (1939)

  1. 00
    Good Evening Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both are collections of short stories which show how the lives of the middle-class in Britain were changed by WWII. Mrs Miniver covers the period leading up to the outbreak of war whilst Good Evening Mrs Craven covers WWII itself.
  2. 00
    Crossriggs by Mary Findlater (kerryperry42)

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» See also 134 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
"Words were the only net to catch a mood, the only sure weapon against oblivion"
By sally tarbox on 6 February 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
An absolute delight of a book; short episodes in the life of Mrs Miniver, an upper-middle class mother of two, on the cusp of WW2 and through into the early days of the conflict...
The first half of the book - before the war - gives glimpses into Firework Night, Christmas shopping, holidays at their second home in Kent - all seen through the thoughtful and astute eyes of Mrs Miniver. I found certain passages would so resound with me; thus her reluctance to go to stay with friends:
"It wasn't shyness. It was more like a form of claustrophobia - a dread of exchanging the freedom of her own self-imposed routine for the inescapable burden of somebody else's."
And I'm sure many will understand Mrs Miniver's change of heart after buying a cheap diary, when she runs back to swap it for the dearer lizard-skin one:
"An engagement-book is the most important of all those small adjuncts to life, that tribe of humble familiars which jog along beside one from year's end to year's end, apparently trivial, but momentous by reason of their terrible intimacy."
And then comes the onset of War; Mrs Miniver recalls the irrational hatred of all things German in the last war:
"feeling towards Dachshund puppies the uneasy tenderness of a devout churchwoman dandling her daughter's love-child."
But as life begins to change, Mrs Miniver still finds time to celebrate the beauties of Nature - and the social revolution that is taking place alongside war. Charming, touching, thought-provoking, humorous - certainly not a plot-driven work but poetic and utterly beautiful. ( )
  starbox | Feb 5, 2017 |
Contrary to my expectations, I like the movie much more than the book. The plot was tightened and the characters more interesting. ( )
  Prop2gether | Feb 9, 2015 |
Mrs. Miniver is an imaginative and thoughtful woman, a loving wife and mother. This is a gentle and easy reading book with little plot. Each chapter is a different episode of Mrs. Miniver's life, with her thoughts and observations.

Now that I've read more, and finished it today, I see Mrs. Miniver's strength in time of war and preparation for war (WW II). She tries to keep things as normal as possible for her children, while at the same time preparing them without alarming them. She volunteers with First Aid and takes in seven refugee children to her country house in Kent. ( )
  FancyHorse | Jan 4, 2014 |
Mrs. Miniver is a compilation of short stories that originally appeared in a London newspaper in the late 1930s. The book doesn't have a plot, yet there are some story arcs that can be traced through the collection, particularly the build-up to World War II. The stories depict middle class life between the wars and give readers an idea of what was at stake in World War II. Struther's style is an appealing blend of pragmatism and imagination (or perhaps curiosity). I can see why this book was so popular in its day and why it still attracts readers decades later. Here's a small taste from the story “Gas Masks”:

...if the worst came to the worst, these children would at least know that we were fighting against an idea, and not against a nation. Whereas the last generation had been told to run and play in the garden, had been shut out from the grown-ups' worried conclaves: and then quite suddenly had all been plunged into an orgy of licensed lunacy, of boycotting Grimm and Struwwelpeter, of looking askance at their cousins' old Fräulein, and of feeling towards Dachshund puppies the uneasy tenderness of a devout churchwoman dandling her daughter's love-child. But this time those lunacies—or rather, the outlook which bred them—must not be allowed to come into being. To guard against that was the most important of all the forms of war work which she and other women would have to do: there are no tangible gas masks to defend us in wartime against its slow, yellow, drifting corruption of the mind. ( )
  cbl_tn | Nov 30, 2013 |
The Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struthers that I just read has very little in common with the 1942 film of the same name starring Greer Garson. But looking a little closer, perhaps the film is the future for the Miniver family, what happened after the book closed. In any case, both the book and the movie paint a distinct picture of the stoic English upper middle class of the 1930’s.

First off I loved how the author set the scene, imprinting vividly the absolute Englishness of Mrs. Miniver and her family. The book is comprised of a series of essays, and whether it’s her gentle musings on her home, family and friends, or her razor-sharp observations on human nature in general, Mrs. Miniver is a joy to read. The war is very much in the background of this book, you sense it coming along on cat’s paws, first lightly mentioned in passing, then on to the fitting of gas masks, and eventually we find Mrs. Miniver planning her 1939 Christmas that will include her seven evacuee children and may not include her husband unless he is able to get leave from his unit to be with them.

The book is deceptively charming and sentimental, but underneath you can feel strength of purpose and steadfastness that the author is portraying, Mrs. Miniver was originally meant as a propaganda article and was published in the newspaper, nevertheless this is a literary piece that captures a certain type of woman in what will probably be her finest hour. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Nov 26, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jan Strutherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grove, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book, while produced under wartime conditions, in full compliance with government regulations for the conservation of paper and other essential materials, is COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED
My thanks are due to the Proprietors and Editor of The Times, in which these articles originally appeared.

First words
It was lovely, thought Mrs. Miniver, nodding good-bye to the flower-woman and carrying her big sheaf of chrysanthemums down the street with a kind of ceremonious joy, as though it were a cornucopia; it was lovely, this settling down again, this tidying away of the summer into its box, this taking up of the thread of one's life where the holidays (irrelevant interlude) had made one drop it.
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Wikipedia in English


Book description
Shortly before the Second World War, a column by "Mrs Miniver" appeared in The Times, the first of many recounting the everday events of a middle-class Chelsea family: Mrs Miniver's thrill at the sight of October chrysanthemums; her sense of doom when the faithful but rackety car is replaced; the escapades of Vin, Toby and Judy, her unpredictable young children; visits to the Kent cottage and, as war becomes a reality, the strange experience of acquiring gas masks and the camaraderie of those unsettling early days.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156631407, Paperback)

As a best-selling book and an Academy Award-winning movie. Mrs. Miniver's adventures have charmed millions. This edition, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the book's orginal publication in the U.S., features a new introduction by Greer Garson, who won the Academy Award as best actress for her role as Mrs. Miniver.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Mrs. Miniver's adventures with her three unpredictable children and generally predictable husband.

(summary from another edition)

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