A Man of Parts

A Man of Parts

A Novel

Book - 2011
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A riveting novel about the remarkable life-and many loves-of author H. G. Wells.

H. G. Wells, author of The Time Machine and War of the Worlds , was one of the twentieth century's most prophetic and creative writers, a man who immersed himself in socialist politics and free love, whose meteoric rise to fame brought him into contact with the most important literary, intellectual, and political figures of his time, but who in later years felt increasingly ignored and disillusioned in his own utopian visions. Novelist and critic David Lodge has taken the compelling true story of Wells's life and transformed it into a witty and deeply moving narrative about a fascinating yet flawed man.

Wells had sexual relations with innumerable women in his lifetime, but in 1944, as he finds himself dying, he returns to the memories of a select group of wives and mistresses, including the brilliant young student Amber Reeves and the gifted writer Rebecca West. As he reviews his professional, political, and romantic successes and failures, it is through his memories of these women that he comes to understand himself. Eloquent, sexy, and tender, the novel is an artfully composed portrait of Wells's astonishing life, with vivid glimpses of its turbulent historical background, by one of England's most respected and popular writers.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011.
ISBN: 9780670022984
9781846554971
Characteristics: 436 p.; 24 cm.

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wendybradley
Sep 22, 2016

I did not like H G Wells one little bit by the time I abandoned this read. I agree with the author of another review here, this book, concentrates on Well's attitude to women in such a way I found him repellent. The little we are told about the women in his life makes me want to know more about them, not him. And yet, I knew there must be more to him than his shabby treatment of women. What was the author's intention? I'm unsure about this.

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uncommonreader
Jan 08, 2013

In this fictionalized biography of Wells, Lodge focuses almost exclusively on Wells' relationships with women. There is no insight provided into the man who was part of the Fabian movement, wrote "War of the Worlds" and as a journalist, interviewed both Lenin and Stalin. In addition, the women are presented only as objects of Wells' lust and/or love, not as interesting people in their own rights. Even the arguments about free love are presented outside of any political context. Finally, Wells' voice does not ring true. I doubt that he used phrases like "her New Women stuff"!

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maven
Oct 26, 2011

So boring. I felt like I was reading a rather dry nonfiction book that didn't keep my interest at all, so I just gave up.

k
kmoyer
Aug 07, 2011

I found this novel about HG Wells an interesting hybrid. It strongly resembles a biography in that the narrative mainly covers events that actually occurred between people and relationships that actually existed, including direct quotations from publications, speeches and letters. Yet, it remains a novel, as Lodge is revealing characters’ thoughts, discussions and some details which he freely admits he has created himself although basing his ‘inventions’ on factual sources. I felt his technique was successful in his aim of re-introducing the public to Wells’ complex personality, audacity, enthusiasm and literary influence. Also, as one reviewer has noted, Lodge’s portrayal of Wells’ second wife Jane, reveals a truly remarkable person.

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