Books by Henry Green

CAUGHT  by Henry Green
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"Dense and often funny, this reissue is necessary reading for fans of both Green and modernist fiction."
Green draws on his experience with the Auxiliary Fire Service in this intricate 1943 novel about waiting for and living through the London Blitz. Read full book review >
BACK by Henry Green
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"In this quick and engrossing novel, Green reveals that living and loving are more about embracing failures and making frequent recalibrations than striving toward unattainable ideals."
Farcical mystery and a heavy dose of pragmatism enliven and ground British writer Green's 1946 off-kilter romance, reissued with an introduction by Deborah Eisenberg. Read full book review >
PACK MY BAG by Henry Green
Released: May 28, 1993

Green (Surviving, 1992, etc.) wrote this autobiography—one of the oddest and most beguiling in English—at age 33, in 1938, fully expecting WW II to annihilate him and everyone else in England. Provisionality in this strange, loopy, charming, quite beautiful memoir is therefore bred in the bone: everything will be only partially said and, what's more, only partially remembered. Partialness was Green's very aesthetic, and woven into this seemingly stunted account of a privileged growing-up of fox-hunting, upper-class-schools, Oxford, and first stabs at literature are some of the frankest expositions of his beliefs about how abstractly and humanely approximate writing ought to be (including the justly renowned: ``Prose should be a long intimacy between strangers with no direct appeal to what both have known''). Green's prose in this book can be so swerving and lovely that it captures two tones at once—first comedy, then absolute nailhead truth: ``Although I can remember hardly anything of what passed it was the first time I had experienced the release, the sense of constipation eased, which at that age frankness with a girl in no more than words can bring and this feeling next morning, with the guilt of clothes covered with scent, is a thing most people carry with them to the end of their lives.'' Published in England in 1940 but inexplicably unavailable in the US until now: one of the most remarkable and timeless of memoirs—a classic. Read full book review >
SURVIVING by Henry Green
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

Who knows that it won't be Henry Green (1905-73), not Joyce or Woolf, that history finally will favor as the greatest English prose-extender of the century? For mysteriousness, fidelity both to complex sensation and simple speech, humane comedy, and what John Updike in the introduction here perfectly encapsulates as ``marvellous originality, intuition, sensuality, and finish,'' Green's novels are almost without equal. And yet by 1952, with Doting, he was done—to live out another 20 years as a businessman, then retiree: an eerie coda, largely of silence. But from the whole career, his grandson now has collected what scraps, rejected work, and bit-journalism he did (along with the amazing Paris Review interview he gave in 1958 to Terry Southern). There are some minor fiction drafts here (a trying-out of the articleless prose of Living; a 1927 sketch describing a swarm of starlings that seems a premonition of the great birds-in-a-tree passage in the much later Concluding). But most interesting may be Green's ever modest insistences, in the occasional article or book review, on fiction as a ``non-representational art,'' ``life which is not''—an art of misapprehension, mistake, mishearing: an antidote to the imperialism of authorial direction more convincing than the French deconstructionism of later decades. And, in a 1961 chiding of fiction critics, there's this jewel: ``Living one's own life can be a great muddle, but the great writers do not make it plain, they palliate, and put the whole in a sort of proportion. Which helps; and on the whole, year after year, help is what one needs.'' No Green fan will want to be without it. (First serial rights to Antaeus, Conjunctions, Grand Street, Missouri Review, Paris Review, and Story) Read full book review >
LOVING by Henry Green
Released: Oct. 6, 1949

The first novel to be published in America by Henry Green who has already established a devotedly enthusiastic following among critics, connoisseurs. Green, whose art has been rightly compared with the pure naturalism of the early 18th century (Fielding, etc.), and who combines with that an occasional poetry, here has produced a comedy of life below stairs in Ireland, during the war. With a deadly fidelity to type and tongue, this reproduces the hierarchical household of Mrs. Tennant; Charley Raunce, promoted to butler after the passing of Mr. Eldon; Edith, the housemaid he loves, and Kate, whom he passes off on the pantry boy; Mrs. Welch, the cook, and Miss Swift, the nanny. From their unctuousness toward the Madam to the petty thievery on the household accounts they practice under her nose, from the scandal over the discovery of Mrs. Jack in bed with a lover to the common uneasiness over the disappearance of a sapphire ring, these things occupy this drama of little lives which also reflect more widespread patterns of privilege and prestige, custom and caste... Perhaps not for a wide public, but for those who have liked the also recently imported I. Compton-Burnett who bears a very close comparison in method and mood. Read full book review >