ENGLAND HALF ENGLISH by Colin MacInnes

ENGLAND HALF ENGLISH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These mixed, informal essays about English culture have been reprinted from various publications and written by the novelist whose Absolute Beginners was a warm, engrossing study of modern London teenagers. These essays are expectedly scattered, both in subject matter and attitude, and range from impressions of modern London culture, through travelogues, to literary criticisms. Those dealing with London drinking clubs, the relations of London West Indians, Africans and whites; teen age popular music and clothing, and English families is reflected in newspaper cartoons, are detached and even almost sociological studies in tone. Probably rightly, for much of the material is so new and explosive, or else simply depressing. MacInnes suggests this quality of British life all too well so that simple factual statement is enough. In a different mood, there are charming, impressionistic sketches of travels in Nigeria, and a piece about Australia, in which Macinnes' unobtrusive ability to get along with and understand many different peoples profits by a wider setting. The literary pieces, including some on his Aunt Trix (Kipling's sister), the architectural writings of Dr. Pevsner, and Ada Leverson, are more conventional in the best English prose tradition. Altogether Mr. MacInnes represents a broad and sensitive range of English life, past and present, and it is honestly observed and generally interesting.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1962
Publisher: Random House