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Kangaroo by D. H. Lawrence


by D. H. Lawrence

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I read this in 2011 for one of my modules at university, which was all about D. H. Lawrence. Found out during the module that I'm not a Lawrence fan. He seemed to divide opinions among students, some of whom shared my negative view, others - along with our tutor - thought he was a brilliant author. I guess from a writer's perspective that it's better to be loved or hated in turn than being treated indifferently.

Of all the works by Lawrence that I read, "Kangaroo" was the worst of the bunch. With such a title it's perhaps fitting that I "skipped" many of the pages, owing to being bored stupid by the lackluster story - or "lack" of story. Would've quit altogether had I not needed to join in with class discussions.

I remember at one stage the narrator states something like, "Page after page and still nothing." This is the reason why I had trouble with it, as there was little actual *story*. It was just self-indulged rambling rubbish.

I know the author received praise for his descriptive passages, but while I agree that he does a good job in this area, it doesn't appeal to a reader interested in character interaction and progressive plot development.

I did take a shine to one of the secondary characters - Victoria - but she wasn't enough to save what I consider to be one of the worst books I've (almost) ever read. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Sep 24, 2015 |
Kangaroo is an account of a visit to New South Wales by an English writer named Richard Lovat Somers, and his German wife Harriet, in the early 1920s. This appears to be semi-autobiographical, based on a three-month visit to Australia by Lawrence and his wife Frieda, in 1922.
The titular kangaroo is the central image of this novel. Somers travels to Australia in search of traditional cultural values. He finds, based on his experience there, a dichotomy between the spirit of the place and the character of its people. In spite of strange place names and the strangeness of the sky and seasons he does not sense the cultural differences from modern Europe for which he is searching. "Kangaroo" is the fictional nickname of one of Lawrence's characters, Benjamin Cooley, a prominent ex-soldier and lawyer, who is also the leader of a secretive, fascist paramilitary organization, the "Diggers Club". Cooley fascinates Somers, but he maintains his distance from the movement itself.
While rejecting Cooley Somers finds what he is looking for in the Australian kangaroo - an image that embodies his ideals. The novel is rich in ideas epitomized by the awareness of the sovereignty of the individual's power over self, his "extraordinary privilege of responsibility". Nietzsche's influence is seen in the idea of "master and slave" found in the Genealogy of Morals and its relation to the discussions in the novel. This is a somewhat disorganized novel, but one rich in ideas which carry the reader forward throughout. ( )
  jwhenderson | Sep 20, 2013 |
I would have to say that this is my least favorite D.H. Lawrence to date. It is really more of a philosophical treatise on man's relationship to man and country than a novel. Apparently it is strongly autobiographical. The part I found most interesting was the period when the protagonist/Lawrence was found unfit to serve during WWI, yet was watched and suspected of being a spy making he and his wife feel unwelcome. Those experiences flavored his time in Australia. His descriptions of the coast and the outback of the country are lovely. Clearly Lawrence struggled profoundly regarding the nature of his connection to other individuals and to society. I am not sure he resolved the issues in the writing of this novel, rather he seemed to clarify the dilemma. ( )
  hemlokgang | Aug 5, 2013 |
Have the penguin 1975 Edition
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
This book began with promise, I thought. Lawrence introduces the reader to new arrivals to Sydney, Richard and Harriet Somers. Richard is a writer and provides some wonderful descriptions of this raw country, 1920's Australia and looks at the difference between these citizens and people from the 'Old Country' i.e. Britain and Europe. Hence began the first essay... followed by many more. This book could have benefited from some judicious editing. Whenever the story reverted to the tale of Richard and Harriet my interest was peaked but very soon it would wander off into another rant. I can say I read it all, but with eyes glazed over.
After becoming involved in alternative political activities, which culminate in a death, Richard and Harriet leave Australia with mixed feelings. A disappointing novel from this pen, elevated by some beautiful descriptions of the landscape and it's people. ( )
  HelenBaker | Sep 6, 2011 |
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Aldington, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140007512, Paperback)

But he was looking mostly straight below him, at the massed foliage of the cliff-slope. Down into the centre of the great, dull-green whorls of the tree-ferns, and on to the shaggy mops of the cabbage palms. In one place a long fall of creeper was yellowish with damp flowers. Gum-trees came up in tufts. The previous world!--the world of the coal age. The lonely, lonely world that had waited, it seemed, since the coal age. These ancient flat-topped tree-ferns, these towsled palms like mops. What was the good of trying to be an alert conscious man here? You couldn't.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:09 -0400)

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'One of the sharpest fictional visions of the country and its people' Gideon Haigh English writer Richard Lovat Somers seeks broader horizons than those of fading post-war Europe, and so, with his wife Harriet, he travels to Australia to discover for himself the people and the way of life in this vast land of opportunity.… (more)

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