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The Picturegoers by David Lodge
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The Picturegoers (original 1960; edition 1993)

by David Lodge (Author)

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2153128,408 (3.3)2
Welcome to the Palladium, Brickley. Once the grandest music-hall south of the river, now its peeling foyer is home to stale popcorn, a depressed manager, and a cast of disparate picturegoers who touch and shape each other's destinies. Amongst them is Mark, the cynical intellectual who seeks sensuality and finds spirituality; Clare, his girlfriend, who loses faith and discovers passion; Father Kipling, the scandalized priest; and Harry, the sexually frustrated Teddy boy. In his astutely observed first novel, David Lodge ushers in a congregation of characters whose hopes, confusions and foibles play out alongside the celluloid fantasies of the silver screen.… (more)
Member:BrendaJM
Title:The Picturegoers
Authors:David Lodge (Author)
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1993), 238 pages
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The Picturegoers by David Lodge (1960)

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This was a first novel; as such it shows that David Lodge could establish himself straight away as competent, insightful and confident in his craft. It is an absorbing book.
The setting of a London suburb in the later fifties is a world that has faded with time. The themes that were common in Lodge's works, Catholicism, academics and sex are all here right from the start. They are part of a contest in a post-war struggle with deprivation. Lodge's treatment is to take the lives of a dozen or so people who are all linked by their attendance at the local cinema, the tatty old Palladium.
The Catholic faith is viewed from as many Catholics as are present in the story, former nun, convert and teenager etc. The Church presents as tired, unaware of a post-war demand for a better deal, and bourgeois.
Lodge's commentaries on sex are dated.
But for all that, it is a good read and characters are redeemed in different ways as the novel concludes.
  ivanfranko | Sep 5, 2023 |
I wanted to know more about the people mentioned in the book and I was a bit disappointed with it. The story could have been made a bit longer with more detail about the time it was set in. ( )
  shirley8 | Apr 2, 2012 |
This edition includes a retrospective on his first novel by Lodge - full of withering condescension and very funny in parts. eg (on his previous unpublished and indeed unpublishable first novel) "It is hard to believe now that I should have wished to expose this embarrassing mixture of religious melodrama and sexual fantasy to public gaze." Yet he went on to publish this strange amalgam of Catholic soap opera and sexual repression. The frame of the novel is a visit to the cinema by a group of people, male, female, young and old and including one rather confused priest who thought he was coming to see The Song of Bernadette and not a Hollywood romance . Lodge had just finished writing his PhD on 'The Catholic Novel" and there is lots of Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh in this one - though more sex. The thing I liked most was the representation of the Mallorys, the large, warm Catholic working-class family in which the central character, a writer, comes to stay. The thing I really disliked was the conceit by which the two lovers: Clare, the beautiful eldest daughter of the household who has just left the convent and Mark, the student writer, track separate paths towards each other and away from the Church. He slowly becomes more and more committed to his faith and eventually decides to test his vocation as a Dominican. She realizes she was only ever romantically interested in the Church but is deeply emotionally and sexually attracted to Mark. He dumps her; she gets on with a real life. But I resented the disruption of the relationship almost as much as Clare's sister.
  hmc276 | Jun 12, 2011 |
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For My Parents
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When, about ten years ago, Secker & Warburg and Penguin began reissuing my early novels, I decided to start with the second of them, Ginger, You're Barmy (1962).

Introduction by the author, May 1992.
The ceiling of Mr Maurice Berkley's office next to the projection room was cracked and peeling.
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Welcome to the Palladium, Brickley. Once the grandest music-hall south of the river, now its peeling foyer is home to stale popcorn, a depressed manager, and a cast of disparate picturegoers who touch and shape each other's destinies. Amongst them is Mark, the cynical intellectual who seeks sensuality and finds spirituality; Clare, his girlfriend, who loses faith and discovers passion; Father Kipling, the scandalized priest; and Harry, the sexually frustrated Teddy boy. In his astutely observed first novel, David Lodge ushers in a congregation of characters whose hopes, confusions and foibles play out alongside the celluloid fantasies of the silver screen.

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