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  • Paperback
  • 204 pages
  • Of Love and Hunger
  • Julian Maclaren-Ross
  • English
  • 23 April 2019
  • 9780141187112

About the Author: Julian Maclaren-Ross

The English writer and dandy, Julian Maclaren Ross 1912 64 , is synonymous with the bohemian world of mid twentieth century Soho There he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Dylan Thomas, Quentin Crisp, John Minton, Nina Hamnett, Joan Wyndham, Aleister Crowley, John Deakin, Augustus John, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde His theatrical dress sense a sharp suit combined with his famous tedd

10 thoughts on “Of Love and Hunger

  1. says:

    An interesting novel set in 1939 in the months before the start of war It opens a window of an England now mostly disappeared landladies, jobs easy to get and lots of smoking However the themes of love and loss are eternal The shadow of war is ever present The main character isn t likeable but the descriptions of daily life are fascinating The wiki entry is a one liner and absolutley hilarious Richard Fanshawe sells vacuum cleaners for a living and has an unhappy love affair with Sukie, the wife of his friend How to really sell a novel The descriptions of the selling tecniques and the fake camaraderie, the hollowness at its centre reminded me of the organised telephone selling we have today Bitingly satirical and bitter Maclaren Ross dissects the whole set up.I picked this up again last night and found it worth a re read Maclaren Ross was a fascinating character, a real bohemian and denizen of Soho and Fitzrovia in the mid century Constantly in debt and avoiding landlords, turning out reviews and short stories to keep the wolf from the door He was dead at 52 and mostly forgotten.He was perhaps an English, slightly earlier version of Bukowski but it s difficult to have the same feel if you re setting your novel in Bognor Regis Maclaren Ross was the model for X Trapnel, the alcoholic novelist in Powell s Dance to the Music of Time series.A good period novel in the tradition of Orwell and Patrick Hamilton just what slow Saturdays are for

  2. says:

    The lives and loves of a vacuum cleaner salesman and his married paramour, Suki, in a depressed pre war Britain Naturally the love affair isn t all plain sailing, but it is as much a novel about the people and the times as it is about the affair It isn t a hopeful novel It is life lived at the very edge of poverty where love isn t so much a grand illumination as light relief from the grinding greyness of a day where the future is always uncertain Will there be enough money to pay the landlady, to eat, to buy cigarettes and maybe for a cheap date at the movies or the zoo War looms, but again, it is the future, and today is another day to be got through.Julian Maclaren Ross has written a good contribution to the very British genre of boarding house literature, along with John Braine s Room At The Top, Lynne Reid Bank s The L Shaped Room, Muriel Spark s wonderfully low key A Far Cry from Kensington and George Orwell s rather disappointing Keep the Aspidistra Flying among many other books, all of them a bit depressing The book is a solid four star read Very enjoyable but a bit downbeat, a reflective read rather than a jolly beach book.

  3. says:

    Desde el comienzo, la novela aparece narrada con la convicci n de una obra maestra La voz nos va llevando y no lo podemos dejar Extraordinario desarrollo de los personajes con breves pinceladas descriptivas, pero sobre todo a trav s de las escenas Maravilloso.

  4. says:

    Set in pre war South England, a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman called Fanshawe is asked by his mate to look after his wife Sukie while he s away at sea The naivet of some folk, eh Fanshawe and Sukie end up having an affair, but, with the ever encroaching spectre of war and the uptight morals of 1930s British society, what will become of their love On paper, Of Love and Hunger sounds like a mundane romance novel but Julian Maclaren Ross s witty and unique storytelling, crystal clear social realism, cracking dialogue and sharp characterisation turns it into something special Though it was published in 1947, it still reads very well today the only problem I had was with the currency which was all bob this and guinea that no clue how much we were talking about The writing is very modern and quickly paced so I was always engaged, the focus on characters doing things with many pages given over purely to rapid fire, interesting dialogue Maclaren Ross writes a compelling and fascinating portrait of this era of British history, showing us what life was like for working class people in places like London and Brighton a hardscrabble, hand to mouth existence, living in grimy rented rooming houses, being chased by creditors left and right, something which was very reflective of the author s own difficult life as well.Despite that, the tone of the book is never maudlin or tries to make you feel sorry for the characters Maclaren Ross strikes a nice balance between the romance and the amusing vacuum cleaner demonstrations that go awry, and the bleak realism of living just above the poverty line with Hitler gearing up for war just across the Channel Fanshawe and Sukie are fully realised, likeable characters who feel like real people and their up and down romance was convincing Other characters also jumped off the page like Heliotrope, the larger than life con artist, and Smiler, Fanshawe s backstabbing crooked colleague I really liked Of Love and Hunger but I can also see why it s or less faded into obscurity today The story isn t that memorable and it s not an Important Novel like the kind Maclaren Ross s famous contemporary George Orwell produced in this era But it s very well written and a great read a hidden gem of 1940s British literature that s worth checking out Fans of Patrick Hamilton s Hangover Square will definitely enjoy this one too.

  5. says:

    The story in front about vacuum salesmen and failed love is a bit lean, but the larger background themes remain frighteningly fresh and relevant Not exactly a compelling read, but I liked it overall Label resistant and genre bending Try to imagine Patrick Hamilton between the wars English boardinghouse and pub settings love obsessed, socially marginalized narrator political themes with a socialist leaning viewpoint mixed with James M Cain jaded tough guy protagonist clipped, vernacular laden, hardboiled prose and J D Salinger lots of swearing lone wolf narrator direct confessional narration Similar to all three of these authors in some aspects but, taken as a whole, not like any of them at all The tea room was full of women sort that lived on big estates behind the town, in square white villas with long windows and hardwood floors and steel and glass furniture you know the type Belong to bridge clubs and country cubs and golf and tennis clubs, sit around talking scandal all day long Dour old boy Rat trap mouth, red bald head Hard collar, blue suit, Sunday best Skinny wife well under control Looks a bastard, I said He is He s a fascist bastard Why, he gave the salute to the Italian delegates when they were passing through On the station Everyone saw him There was a picture in the paper D you reckon there ll be war Roper asked me Certainly, I said Why not It doesn t worry you Why should it Things couldn t very well be worse

  6. says:

    Una novela extraordinaria Richard y Sukie componen una historia inolvidable Tan actual lo que le ocurre a Richard con su trabajo , hoy podr a ser repartidor Est narrada con una pasi n que resulta todo veros mil, y no la pod s dejar Le creo todo a esa primera persona Llegu a conmoverme en muchos pasajes

  7. says:

    I came to this book having read Paul Willetts s biography of Soho legend, Julian Maclaren Ross, Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia His was a hand to mouth existence, and for anyone interested in the 1940s, and literary London is well worth reading Of Love and Hunger , Maclaren Ross s first full length novel, draws on his own experiences of living in Bognor Regis and working for Electrolux in Hove as a door to door vacuum salesman In common with Patrick Hamilton, this is a world of casual work, drinkers, hardship and boarding houses The story takes place during 1939 War looms and Maclaren Ross evokes the sense of impending doom and transience I really enjoyed it Well observed characters populate the main story of a doomed love affair, that also features pettiness, snobbery, fascism, misanthropy, and humour Whilst not quite up there with Hamilton s Hangover Square or Slaves Of Solitude let s face it what is , it is nonetheless a compelling, enjoyable read filled with great period detail The short epilogue, three years on from the main story, beautifully brings together the threads of the ensuing War and the personal lives of the main characters A minor classic.After reading this, I am really looking forward to the two other books by Julian Maclaren Ross that I also purchased off the back of Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia Selected Stories and Memoirs of the Forties.

  8. says:

    Well, to be completely honest with you, I had even forgotten I bought this one on a second hand books purchasing spree in Paris.Then, as soon as I ve seen the novel on my bookshelves stuck in between scores of moth eaten Penguin titles by David Lodge and George Orwell, I remembered how excited I was when I found it back in France.I will be partial in this review.As a matter of fact, there s no other place and time in literature which I like than England between the 1930s and 1940s In a span of 15 years and a radius of 100 miles from London novelists such as the aforementioned Orwell, Graham Greene, Patrick Hamilton, Christopher Isherwood, Evelyn Waugh and P.G Wodehouse wrote some of the best stuff I ve ever read.From now onwards, I will make sure to include the name of Julian Maclaren Ross in this pantheon of mine Because Of Love and Hunger is one of those novels which leave a mark If I taught my own class of English literature of the 1930s and 1940s I would tell my students to read this book together with The Slaves of Solitude by Hamilton, Coming Up For Air by Orwell, Put Out More Flags by Waugh and The Ministry of Fear by Greene.Julian Maclaren Ross was an interesting chap bit of a scoundrel if you ask me with awful drinking habits, dandy clothes and sordid lodgings He wore shades in all seasons, spent fortunes in the pubs and didn t manage to write as much and as good as he could have done in his debaucherous life.However this Of Love and Hunger is an achievement in itself The style here is so terse and yet meaningful, the sentences so short and straight, the lines of dialogues delivered like bullets that one cannot get distracted.I could easily picture the author sitting at his desk pushing the keys of his typewriter in a bout of apparently furious but calculated inspiration with a bottle of whiskey on his left and a flask of gin on his right The greatest gift of this novel is its dark humour I cannot recall such humour in, say, Patrick Hamilton another half forgotten British author of the same period with whom Maclaren Ross shared much in lifestyle and in prose Of Love and Hunger is certainly derivative in some of its parts paying a clear debt to Keep the Aspidistra Flying and introducing a capricious female character, Sukie, who bears many a resemblance with the suburban femme fatales portrayed by Hamilton and Waugh.Nevertheless, the ability of Maclaren Ross shines when introducing the reader to the pedestrian world of vacuum cleaner door to door sellers These young and disillusioned chaps, who are unsure if considering themselves members of the working class, lead a depressing life made of rackets , dems demonstrations pining for sales and commissions.Julian Maclaren Ross is masterful and pitiless in portraying the competition between the two rival vacuum cleaner firms the protagonist here has to work for A competition which looks so dramatically contemporary to me with all of its empty slogans, its fake team spirit, its best seller awards , its internal hyerarchies, its dodgy schools where agents are told what to do and say All of this reminded me of at least a couple of places where I worked and is surprisingly close to the whole customer service subculture now so ubiquitous in the UK and elsewhere This is a novel written in 1947 and set around 1938 so I assume it was not regarded as ahead of its times when it got published But still, Of Love and Hunger deserves to be read and enjoyed for plenty of bloody good reasons in AD 2013.

  9. says:

    Julian MacLaren Ross, one of the post war crust taking it upon himself to live a bohemian lifestyle until he found himself on his uppers, much like Derek Raymond would do in the 1980s and how Of Love and Hunger s protagonist Frances Fanshawe chose to live As a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman no less, flitting from job to job, dwelling to dwelling, debt to debt with a never to be forgotten past that haunts him but is ony hinted at There s a lost love, a lost career, a lost father, a lost self respect hidden in there somewhere, informing the actions of a wannabe writer who accidentally discovers the remarkable terse, lean prose of James M Cain and you get the feeling that the boundaries between author and protagonist blur than is usual in these novels about authors I can t help but be reminded, as others have been before me, of Patrick Hamilton, of Evelyn Waugh, of the less religious work of Graham Greene, Maclaren Ross feeling like a bridging novel between the English writers of the 1930s and the so called angry young men that would come to the fore of British letters in the following decade, Osborne, Sillitoe, Barstow et al This is a contemporary literary work of the highest order that deserves to be rediscovered in addition to which it is a damned fine read that hooks you early and keeps you reading until the all too quickly reached end.

  10. says:

    She d dropped an awful brick at the shop somebody d slammed the door behind her, and thinking it was Warren, she d said For Christ s sake make less din, you silly bitch Turned around and it was old Morecombe instead Not so hot, he being a pious old bastard and a churchwarden to boot Thought she d get the sack at first, but all she got was a long lecture on ladies using bad language and the decadence of modern youth in general How smashing is that How about My heart sank when I first saw Miss Purves, the new interviewer Sort of old girl you d see at a charity bazaar Straggly grey hair, face like the Wolf playing Grandma Frock about 1880 and a Queen Mary toque Grey woollen gloves and rubbery shoes There s another bit where he has a wank Loved it.This was quoted from Auden and MacNeice s Letters From Iceland Adventurers, though, must take things as they find them,And look for pickings where the pickings are.The drives of love and hunger are behind them,They can t afford to be particular And those who like good cooking and a car,A certain kind of costume or of face,Must seek them in a certain kind of place.

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