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The Shrimp and the Anemone by L. P. Hartley

The Shrimp and the Anemone

by L. P. Hartley

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1444128,266 (3.97)17
There is irony and humour in this Jamesian story about Eustace and Hilda, an Edwardian brother and sister. In its opening scene, 9 year old Eustace watches an anemone devour a shrimp in a tidepool among the rocks on a Norfolk beach.



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This is the first volume in the trilogy Eustace and Hilda about two Edwardian children living in a southern English town described as a health resort. Written in the 1940s, the setting has the nostalgic air of an earlier time (at one point nurse mentions "that's the fourth motor car I've seen in the last two weeks"). Nine year old Eustace is a gentle boy with health problems who is dominated by his beloved twelve year old sister Hilda. She persuades - or more accurately, orders him to overcome his fright and befriend an elderly neighbour in a wheelchair. It is no surprise that he becomes fond of the old woman and enjoys her company, with surprising results. Hartley's glorious writing appears simple while offering much to think about.

Although a trilogy originally published separately between 1944 and 1947, the three volumes have been published as one book since 1958. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Feb 28, 2019 |
This first book in the Eustace & Hilda trilogy takes place during one summer in the 1930s with Eustace at 9 years old & Hilda 13. He is an odd little boy, at once fanciful and submissive, perhaps due to his poor health. Despite the fact that he is unlike any small boy I have ever known, I quickly became sympathetic to him. The book was a fast read but has some ideas in it that I am still mulling over. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy! ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 27, 2016 |
was made to read this for school and ended up loving it. It broke right through my cynicism. ( )
  Gary_Power | Jul 10, 2016 |
Basically this is a story of two Edwardian children,Eustace and his sister Hilda. Eustace is a somewhat weak and sickly child who is cosseted and at the same time dominated by his sister. In the course of the book Hilda persuades Eustace to make friends with an elderly and infirm Miss Fothergill. The old lady at first frightens and disgusts the boy,but later he changes his attitude completely and begins to enjoy her company. As the book concludes,we learn of the far-reaching consequences of the children's actions.
The story continues in two further volumes. ( )
  devenish | Feb 1, 2013 |
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"I've known a hundred kinds of love
All made the loved one rue."
— Emily Brontë
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"Eustace! Eustace!" Hilda's tones were always urgent; it might not be anything very serious.
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