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by Margaret Drabble

Download Modern Classics the Needle's Eye (Penguin Modern Classics) fb2, epub

ISBN: 0141197285
Author: Margaret Drabble
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Classic (November 29, 2011)
Pages: 254
Category: Literary
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 853
Size Fb2: 1676 kb
Size ePub: 1953 kb
Size Djvu: 1639 kb
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Margaret Drabble's "The Needle's Eye" is an extraordinary work: It not only tells a story deftly, beautifully, with a management of past and present (and future) action that demonstrates Miss Drabble's total mastery of th. .

Margaret Drabble's "The Needle's Eye" is an extraordinary work: It not only tells a story deftly, beautifully, with a management of past and present (and future) action that demonstrates Miss Drabble's total mastery of the mysterious form of the novel, but it succeeds in so re-creating the experiences of her characters that we soon forget they are fictional beings. An extraordinary work: it tells a story deftly, beautifully (Joyce Carol Oates). Margaret Drabble was born in 1939 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the daughter of barrister and novelist John F. Drabble, and sister of novelist .

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And that also means constantly redefining and refreshing exactly what makes a ‘classic’. That’s where Modern Classics come in. Since 1961 they have been an organic, ever-growing and ever-evolving list of books that we believe will continue to be read over and over again. They will be summarily deleted.

The Needle’s Eye. PENGUIN BOOKS. Penguin modern classics

The Needle’s Eye. Part one. Part two. Penguin modern classics. The needle’s eye. She attended the Quaker Mount School in York and Cambridge University, and was also briefly a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is the author of eighteen novels and eight works of non-fiction, including biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson.

This book can be found in: Fiction Modern & contemporary fiction. The Needle's Eye - Penguin Modern Classics (Paperback). Margaret Drabble (author).

Literary critics see books in this series as important members of the Western canon, though many titles are translated or of non-Western origin; indeed, the series for decades from its creation included only translations, until it eventually incorporated the Penguin English Library imprint in 1986.

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books modern classics design design rants ramble rambles thoughts. Those familiar with the classics and Latin might take more from this book than I did. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I’d recommend to give it a go. It’s also perfectly written for a film and would translate well to screen. Although it would still have to be set in the 80s/90s as with existence of WiFi and smart phones, most of this plot would be very different.

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Simon Camish is an embittered, timid barrister, too busy with his own problems to take note of Rose Vassiliou across a dinner party table. But only a few years before, Rose had frequently been in the news, an heiress who turned her back on family money in the name of independence. Now she is a single parent in a decaying house, trying to raise her three children while her ex-husband takes legal action against her. When Simon finds himself drawn into her affairs, he will discover - despite what Rose may wish - that the power of money is ultimately inescapable.


I'm not rating Drabble's novel. I think it's a regular Drabble novel, fully representative of her style. But the edition I read - the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition to Kindle devices - is an unacceptable one. It's full of errors. There is a lot of sentences with no punctuation. There is a lot of misspelling words - "Creek" instead of "Greek", "Erst" instead of "first" and so on. I think there isn't a single page without mistakes. It's annoying. It seems an amateurish scanning, using a bad OCR software. I am asking Amazon to exchange this terrible edition for the Penguin edition, which I hope it's better.
I want to finish this book but it might not hold my interest enough to continue reading it. There are too many unimportant details to get me distracted and confused to follow the story.
Well written initial and final thirds but spoilt by pretty ordinary mid section . Potentially an interesting and ingenious plot but little development of this for far too long .
Did not like this book at all. We read it for our book club and I did not finish it.
The Needle's Eye by Margaret Drabble is at one level a story of two marriages, the Vassiliou and the Camish. Its focus is on two characters, Rose Vassiliou and Simon Camish who, even at their first meeting, find themselves inexorably drawn to one another.

Rose Bryanston was brought up in an upper middle class English family. The rambling country house in Norfolk figures large towards the end of the book when Rose and Simon make an unscheduled weekend visit to her parents. Rose has married Christopher Vassiliou, of Greek origin, and has settled near Alexandra Palace in north London. They have three children and have separated. Rose has also inherited and has given the money away, taking to heart the Bible's advice on rich men and the eyes of a needle. Perhaps that's why Christopher has left her. They are squabbling over the children, as one would expect when rational people, so capable in the area of analysis and reason, apply their powers selfishly.

Simon Camish is a specialist on labour relations and trade unions. He is also a writer and is co-authoring a book on aspects of his specialism. He is also resident in north London and also has three children of his own. He is married to Julie who, despite everything we are told, does not appear to be the kind of person who would fall for a man whose main interest was trade unionism. Her dismissive materialism is often tinged with a barbed anger.

These characters soon begin to develop their obvious penchant for thought and analysis. They seem to be capable of endless, un-paragraphed free association from almost any starting stimulus and leading to any imagined end. And it soon becomes a process apparently without end. Consciousness streams forth in long, unbroken flows, often appearing strangely directionless, sometimes almost repetitive. At times Simon and Rose seem to be so obsessed with themselves that they seek to analyse even the mundane, a process that always endows the mundane with deep, if passing significance. It seems that they seek implications in every catchable breath. Christopher, Rose's husband, on the other hand, seems to be direct and largely pragmatic, while Julie, Simon's wife, is often short tempered, dismissive, prejudiced and more inclined to worry about the curtains than the eternal.

By the middle of the book, we are completely engrossed with these people but, to be charitable, we can hardly associate with them. They dwell on every thought, meander through past and future, while apparently taking any present for granted. Rose and Christopher are fighting over the custody of their children, but we feel that they themselves are the only people in their thoughts.

Eventually, The Needle's Eye does develop its own direction. But it is a long journey and, despite a drive from London to Norfolk, we feel we have travelled very little from where we started. But then life is like that, isn't it? How many plots do we live? In The Needle's Eye we share the lives of people, perhaps live them a little. We become participants, not mere observers, but we never really know the characters because they probably don't really know themselves. I suppose we are different nowadays...
The title of this novel is taken from a saying of Jesus recorded in the New Testament: - "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God". These words were spoken to a wealthy young man who had demurred at the suggestion that he should sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor in order to inherit eternal life. Margaret Drabble's novel, however, is about a woman who has done precisely what that young man was unwilling to do.

Rose Bryanston is an heiress who, on attaining her majority at the age of 21, takes two steps which alienate her from her wealthy parents. Firstly, she marries her Greek-Cypriot boyfriend Christopher Vassiliou, of whom her parents strongly disapprove. Secondly, she disposes of her inherited fortune of £20,000, giving it to build a school in a small African country. (We learn that Rose was born in 1937, so these events would have taken place in 1958, when £20,000 would be worth a great deal more than it would today).

The main part of the story takes place in 1968-69. (Although the novel was written in 1972, the date can be ascertained from references to the pre-decimal currency abolished in 1971 and veiled references to the My Lai massacre and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia). Rose is now divorced from Christopher who proved to be a violent, abusive husband, and is living in relative poverty with her three children in the Hornsey-Muswell Hill area. (In the sixties this was an impoverished, run-down part of North London, although today it is considerably more affluent than it was then). The main policy developments all arise from Christopher's attempts to challenge Rose for custody of the children.

Apart from Rose herself, the most important character is not Christopher, but Simon Camish, a barrister who befriends Rose and advises her on her case, even though he is not a specialist in family law. Simon's speciality is trade union and industrial relations law, something highly topical at the time Drabble was writing, as Ted Heath's Conservative government had just passed a controversial Industrial Relations Act. Simon's own marriage is an unhappy one, and although Rose is not physically attractive he finds himself drawn to her gentle idealism, which contrasts sharply with his wife Julie's social-climbing snobbery. Their friendship, however, never develops into a sexual relationship; this is not (thank God) just another "adultery-in-Hampstead" type romance.

One of Drabble's preoccupations in this book is the way in which people's circumstances are condition by their social background. Simon and Rose have, in a way, moved in opposite directions. He was born into genteel poverty in Newcastle, but has achieved success in his profession and comparative affluence, despite which he still clings to his working-class roots and his left-wing idealism. (Out of deference to his background, he always acts for the unions, even when he thinks that they are in the wrong). This is one of the major differences between him and Julie, who is from a more middle-class background and lacks a social conscience. (Her father, like Rose's, was a successful businessman, although merely well-to-do as opposed to spectacularly wealthy).

Rose was born into wealth but has voluntarily chosen to live in poverty. Yet though she may seem to Simon like the St Francis of Muswell Hill, her apparently selfless act has led not so much to the Kingdom of God as to the impoverishment of her children as well as of herself, to the breakdown of her marriage and to her alienation from her parents. Even in Africa she has achieved little; the school was burnt down in civil disturbances shortly after it was built and much of the money was siphoned off into the pockets of local politicians. This raises the question of whether one can live by Christian idealism alone, and whether Rose's apparent selflessness might just be another form of selfishness, the indulging of her own ideals above the needs of her family.

"The Needle's Eye" will not appeal to those who expect their fiction to be packed with action or dramatic incident, but its author displays a great talent for psychological analysis comparable to that of her older contemporary Iris Murdoch and for creating believable, well-rounded characters. This was the third book by Margaret Drabble which I have read. The others, "A Summer Bird Cage" and "The Millstone", were both youthful works, written while the author was in her mid-twenties, and I found both rather slight, lightweight works. This one, by contrast, although Drabble was only slightly older (33) when she wrote it, is a novel of much greater depth.

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