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The Fountain Overflows [Paperback]

By Rebecca West & Andrea Barrett (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 15.26  
Retail Value $ 17.95  
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Item Number 426413  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   500
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.92 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 2002
Publisher   NYRB Classics
ISBN  1590170342  
EAN  9781590170342  

Availability  3 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 02:21.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
The author re-imagines her own childhood in this witty, often troubling autobiographical novel that follows the lives of members of the Aubrey family from the perspective of Rose, one of four siblings. Original.

Publishers Description
The lives of the talented Aubrey children have long been clouded by their father?s genius for instability, but his new job in the London suburbs promises, for a time at least, reprieve from scandal and the threat of ruin. Mrs. Aubrey, a former concert pianist, struggles to keep the family afloat, but then she is something of a high-strung eccentric herself, as is all too clear to her daughter Rose, through whose loving but sometimes cruel eyes events are seen. Still, living on the edge holds the promise of the unexpected, and the Aubreys, who encounter furious poltergeists, turn up hidden masterpieces, and come to the aid of a murderess, will find that they have adventure to spare.

In The Fountain Overflows, a 1957 best seller, Rebecca West transmuted her own volatile childhood into enduring art. This is an unvarnished but affectionate picture of an extraordinary family, in which a remarkable stylist and powerful intelligence surveys the elusive boundaries of childhood and adulthood, freedom and dependency, the ordinary and the occult.
"Rebecca West was one of the giants and will have a lasting place in English literature. No one in this century wrote more dazzling prose, or had more wit, or looked at the intricacies of human character and the ways of the world more intelligently." —William Shawn

"A real Dickensian Christmas pudding of a book-full of incident, full of family delights, full of parties and partings, strange bits of London, the lobby of the House of Commons, a classic murder with portraits of the murderer, the murderee and a couple of innocent bystanders, bill collectors, kitchen fires, good food, and a considerable quota of ghosts. West’s is a world that is a delight to enter and to live in, warm and vital, and constantly entertaining." —Elizabeth Janeway, The New York Times Book Review
Rebecca West (1892-1983) was born Cicily Isabel Fairfield, the youngest of three daughters of Charles Fairfield, a journalist in London, and Isabel Mackenzie, a talented pianist who supported her family by giving music lessons. Fairfield was a brilliant storyteller who entertained his daughters with tales of wild adventures in America and Australia, but he was moody and unreliable, and in 1901 he left his wife and children to go to Sierra Leone, where he hoped to start a pharmaceutical plant. The plan failed, and he returned to London, though not to his family, dying when Cicily was fourteen. Inspired by such stars of the stage as Sarah Bernhardt and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Cicily hoped to become an actress, and in 1910 she enrolled in the Academy of Dramatic Art. Soon, however, she abandoned her theatrical ambitions and joined the staff of the feminist journalThe Freewoman, for which she began to write regularly under the name of Rebecca West (adopted after playing that character in a performance of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm). Among Rebecca West’s protean accomplishments are critical studies of two writers she deeply admired, Henry James and D.H. Lawrence;Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), a vast work about pre-World War II Yugoslavia that combines history, political analysis, and vivid descriptions of travel; The Meaning of Treason (1947); and several novels, beginning with The Return of the Soldier (1918) and including The Fountain Overflows(1956), which is closely modeled on the events of her own childhood.

Andrea Barrett is the author of five novels, most recently The Voyage of the Narwhal, and two collections of short fiction, Ship Fever, which received the 1996 National Book Award, andServants of the Map. A MacArthur Fellow, she was also a Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

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More About Rebecca West & Andrea Barrett

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Andrea Barrett is the author of "Archangel", "The Air We Breathe", "Servants of the Map" (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), "The Voyage of the Narwhal", "Ship Fever" (winner of the National Book Award), and other books. She teaches at Williams College and lives in northwestern Massachusetts.

Andrea Barrett currently resides in Rochester, in the state of New York. Andrea Barrett has an academic affiliation as follows - Williams College.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Different from The Thinking Reed  Oct 29, 2007
I was introduced to West through her book The Thinking Reed. I liked her obeservations of rich Europeans, as seen through the eyes of an American, in the era before the first world war. The Fountain Overflows takes place in Edwardian England and tells the story of an educated but impoverished family, told through the eyes of one of the young daughters. Whereas The Thinking Reed was a pleasurable, almost fluffy read for me, The Fountain Overflows raised issues that I feel it didn't answer. The father is a gambler and not emotionally dependable, and the effects on the children are alluded to at the end of the story, but then dropped. I would have liked West to stay more superficial, describing the fascinating details of family life, and leave the emotional analysis out of the story, since she didn't follow the emotional analysis through. This is a quibble, however. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Fountain Overflows, and will be moving on to Black Lamb and Gray Falcon soon.
Intriguing characters, sparkling writing  Aug 11, 2007
This was my first encounter with Dame Rebecca West's writing, but it won't be my last. Nearly every paragraph stood alone, as a description to savor or an emotion remarkably described. The characters linger long after the book is closed. I believe that someone has suggested that they are somewhat Dickensian, with which I would agree. The plot conveys to the reader a deep understanding of the frustrations encountered by women whose lives are held in thrall by men who are indifferent to their wellbeing.

The only thing that keeps this book from being 5-stars in my mind are occasional spots where you want it to move more quickly. Its subtlety and richness make it a book well worth revisiting.

A general comment about the Classics series of the New York Review of Books. I am particularly pleased to have discovered this series for two reasons. First, because of the beauty of the books themselves; the cover art is of a very high quality and the paper, printing and binding is as well. The books themselves are pleasurable to experience. Second, the series is introducing me to literature that I would otherwise have never read. I just finished "A High Wind in Jamaica," have begun "Indian Summer" by William Dean Howells (and my middle-school introduction to "The Rise of Silas Lapham" would have predicted that I would never have picked up a book by Howells again, which would have been my loss - I might even tackle Silas Lapham again), and have ordered a few more. I recommend that readers explore some of these treasures.
Once Of My Favorite Books  Nov 7, 2006
to be savored - a real treasure.
This book is hard to classify because it is both densely written, and yet, it is like cotten candy. If you like to be transported to another place and time, and enjoy writers who know how to use the English language, this is a book for you!
My favorite novel of all time--and I've read thousands...  Jan 10, 2005
The header says it all. If pressed, I will have to admit that this is my absolute favorite novel of all time. There is something so haunting and so human and so memorable about this book, I can't stay away from it--I must have read it 20 times, and I never grow tired of it.
Quite Simply One of the Best Books in English Literature  Aug 15, 2003
I had heard of author Rebecca West, mainly as the young woman who had a long term affair with a much older H.G. Wells and produced a child out of wedlock, back when things like this were considered shocking. I stumbled across a copy of this book and decided it might make an interesting read.
I never imagined that I had found a true classic, a book that uses the English language to a degree unsurpassed by any other author I have ever read. The story of is simple, that of a down on their luck family, living in London during the early 1900's. Their trials and tribulations are faithfully described, as are the multitude of characters they befriend. Actually to describe the plot, one might assume that not much really happens and to be honest, the plot is not the main attribute of this novel. But the language! I have often thought that I would some day like to write a novel but after reading this book, I would not even attempt it! This is how language should be used...clear and concise but also able to convey atmosphere and emotions. Page after page of luscious words, all combining together to create an unforgettable reading experience. If, like me, you wanted to read more, please note that the sequel, This Real Night is almost as good. A third book, Cousin Rosamund is much weaker since it was not completed at the time of the author's death.
Please do yourself a favor and read this book. I think this ranks with Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights as books which define the best that the English language can offer.

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