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England, Their England by A. G. Macdonell

England, Their England (1933)

by A. G. Macdonell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I had never heard of this book before I started reading from the Guardian's list of 1000 novels. It was so funny! I started chuckling on the very first page. ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 17, 2018 |
I refuse to tag this as a novel. Evelyn Waugh made excellent novels out of this material. but Macdonnell isn't really trying. Very funny however.
  sonofcarc | Sep 12, 2016 |
I picked this up because it was carried by a character in Uprooted by Lynne Reid Banks. It is quite funny in parts. Some of it is more difficult for an American to understand (like the chapter on cricket). But the general idea comes across. There is not much of a plot. It is a fond look at the foibles of the English written by a Scot. A fun read. ( )
  njcur | Sep 8, 2015 |
I have the 1949 edition. Can't remember it. To re-read sometime.
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
What a pleasure it was to re-read this wonderful novel.
The basic premise is that Donald Cameron, having been wounded towards the end of the First World War, inherits a modest estate from his late father, but only on condition that he stays out of his native Scotland for at least eleven months of every year until he reaches the age of fifty. Forced to relocate to London, Donald undertakes a study of the English as a race, having previously been warned that their two most important national traits were the sacrosanct nature of team spirit, and a reverence for Lord nelson.
As he wanders through English life Donald is nonplussed by the English whom he rapidly identifies as a race wracked by internal conflict - the most courteous, kind and charming people can, without any warning, occasionally (and more or less without warning) demonstrate the most heinous meanness, cruelty and spite, to be followed by the most painful remorse and generous amends.
Author MacDonell obviously loves the English as his character Donald, whom he treats to a serious of hilarious experiences. The chapter devoted to the village cricket match in which a bewildered Donal participates has been frequently anthologised elsewhere, and is to my mind the finest and funniest writing about the game ever. Even people with no love for the game can seldom fail to be won over by the glorious chapter in which he evokes a Corinthian spirit and rural idyll that possibbly never existed and was certainly long gone by 1933 when McDonnell wrote this. In another chapter Donald is taken to an exclusive golf course where he meets an old comrade from back home in Buchan who has carved out a niche as the club professional, a role which he plays to the maximum adopting the role of curmudgeonly Jock, much to the delight of the posh member s who congratulate themselves on knowing how to deal with "a real character". Needless to say, Cameron, with his hickory-shafted clubs, emerges victorious against the suburbanites despite their expensive clubs and fashionable accessories, though equally true to form they all pay up without hesitation or regret.
Later in the year he goes to the annual Varsity rugby match at Twickenham, one of the great social events of the year. As it happens the match takes place in the midst of regular London pea-souper, so no-one can see a thing. However, everyone has a jolly good time regrdless, and a huge amount of wine is still consumed.
Light-heaterd throughout, there are enough unexpected twists to prevent the novel form falling into predictability, and MacDonell's prose is beautifully crafted.
Well worth reading! ( )
1 vote Eyejaybee | Jan 14, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Macdonell, A. G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brookes, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peter BrookesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vickers, HugoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vickers, HugoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To J. C. Squire

The English Poet
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The events which are described in this book had their real origin in a conversation which took place between two artillery subalterns on the Western Front in the beginning of October 1917.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330280414, Paperback)

Set in 1920s England, this book chronicles the life of a young man forced to live among the English, rather than in his native Scotland. What follows is a series of interesting and satirical observations about English life, including fox hunting, domestic politics, and most famously, village cricket. This classic book remains a hilarious look into everyday British life in the interwar years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

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