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The Tortoise and the Hare, by Elizabeth Jenkins
February 1, 2022 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm GMT
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A book club salon, hosted by Henry Oliver who writes The Common Reader.
We will discuss The Tortoise and the Hare, by Elizabeth Jenkins, one of the great post-war English novels, a vicious, Austen-esque novel about the break-up of a marriage, late-bloomers, and changing social mores in 1950s Britain. As well as discussing the novel, we will learn more about Jenkins’ life and work, and how it relates to the novel, based on Henry’s researching into Jenkins, as well as the historical context of the novel.
One of the great fables about late bloomers is the tortoise and the hare. We are taught as children its simple moral that the race is not to the swift. However, what we are not told is that applying the fable isn’t straightforward. The real race is against ourselves, not other people. Elizabeth Jenkins’ 1954 novel The Tortoise and the Hare is about exactly that. It is Ecclesiastes applied to an upper middle class marriage and adultery. What makes the novel especially interesting, is that there’s some debate about which character is the tortoise and which the hare.
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