Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow

In This Our Life 
by Ellen Glasgow
1942 Pulitzer Prize
1 star - just shoot me now

ALR Green - three happy dogs mentioned in passing (in the first half of the book at least)

The best thing about this book was the original edition sent to me by the library. Apparently the book was acquired in the year it was written so I was able to enjoy one of those deliciously worn volumes where every page opens neatly and one enjoys the tactile sensation of turning pages thickened and heavy from years of human contact. 

It also looks like the Library Police have toned down a bit. The sticker in the back indicates a two cent per day fine for overdue books, two week loan only, and a complete shutdown of library privileges until all fines are paid. That would be like a 32 cent per day fine in today's dollars (as opposed to the 10 cents I pay) and my library network extends a grace period that allows me to float an outstanding balance (not that I ever would) and still check out books.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. The review.

From page 34:

In the midst of it all, [Asa] felt, there was no middle age. There was just youth in the machine and old age under the wheels, but there was no middle age anywhere...

And it only gets worse.

Here we have an extraordinarily depressing book. I made it to page 220 before I had to bail out lest I begin applying to my own life the bleak prospects the author gives her characters.


The writing is magnificent. Every character is described so beautifully that one knows not only the details of their appearance, but also the motivations behind their thoughts and deeds. 

Unfortunately, there is not one happy person in the entire cast of characters. These folks are beyond depressed. In the pages I read, there is no glimmer of hope, no bright light. Every conversation, every setting is heavily basted in despair and hopelessness.

No thanks.


  1. Yeah, I don't enjoy signing up for that, either!

  2. And yet, the cover looks so promising. Too bad this Pulitzer Prize winner was a dud.