Review: A Man of Parts, David Lodge

A Man of Parts David Lodge cover
Isolated in his blitz-battered Regent's Park house in 1944, the ailing Herbert George Wells, 'H.G.' to his family and friends, looks back on a life crowded with incident, books and woman. Charting his unpromising start as a draper's assistant to his rapid rise to fame as a writer with a prophetic imagination, his immersion in socialist politics and his belief in and practice of free love.

Professor David Lodge is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of University College London. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, where he taught from 1960 until 1987, when he retired to write full-time.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was Chairman of the Judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, and is the author of numerous works of literary criticism, mainly about the English and American novel, and literary theory. He is also the author of The Art of Fiction (1992), a collection of short articles first published in the Independent on Sunday.
David Lodge is a successful playwright and screenwriter, and has adapted both his own work and other writers' novels for television. His novels include The Picturegoers (1960), The British Museum is Falling Down (1965), Changing Places (1975), Therapy (1995), Thinks... (2001), and his most recent, Deaf Sentence (2008). He lives in Birmingham.

I never read a book by H.G. Wells. I do know about his works but they are not really books I would pick up for a fun read. After reading several pieces in this book I knew I was right. Still when I saw this book on the shelves in the bookstore I got intrigued and decided to buy it.
I am in doubt if that was a good or bad decision. This really is a book going from one place to another. Parts are brilliant others are long. It is clear Lodge gathered a lot of information on Wells to build a frame of facts filling the big holes he left on purpose with the story.
As Lodge did a brilliant job in mixing those up it is hard sometimes to separate the facts from the fiction and you just have to take that for granted. This did disturb my reading experience at points.
The characters in the book really come to life. You can easily imagine them in the various places. And combined in truth and fiction the character Wells does not really deserve a nice description, but lets keep this civil. For a man taking position for woman rights he has a weird way of dealing with them. The simple example that he can have multiple relations and his wife has to deal with it but the woman in his life should be loyal or he will be jealous. In the brain of a woman that is a one way ticket to the dislike corner for a man.
Written in two styles the story starts in the last years of Wells life where he reminiscing about the decisions he made in his love life. Parts of the story are written while he is being interviewed by his own conscious and though some of the questions he is asking himself are funny I found these parts difficult to read. I did enjoy the other parts better where the story was "being told".
Overall I experienced the read as bumpy disturbing my experience of the story making it hard for me to decide on the star rating. I am afraid I will have to give this book two stars, cause I will not even consider reading it a second time. Still I think people can easily enjoy this book or experience it different depending on how a person reads. Meaning.. if you are interested find a copy and read two pages to see if you can handle the bumps if yes the story offers enough entertainment to read it, if not do not pick it up cause it will keep you busy.

A Man of Parts
Author: David Lodge
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0099556081
ISBN13: 9780099556084
Pages: 565
Format: Paperback
Vintage: Paperback | Hardback | eBook
2 star book review

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