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Human Voices

Human Voices By Penelope Fitzgerald Human Voices The human voices of Penelope Fitzgerald s third novel are those of the BBC in the first years of the Second World War the time when the concert hall was turned into a dormitory for both sexes

  • Title: Human Voices
  • Author: Penelope Fitzgerald
  • ISBN: 9780006542544
  • Page: 381
  • Format: Paperback
  • Human Voices By Penelope Fitzgerald The human voices of Penelope Fitzgerald s third novel are those of the BBC in the first years of the Second World War, the time when the concert hall was turned into a dormitory for both sexes.
    Human Voices By Penelope Fitzgerald

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      381 Penelope Fitzgerald
    Human Voices

    One thought on “Human Voices

    1. Petra X on said:

      This is about working at the sexist BBC news service during WWII where the female broadcasters, then as now, had to be slim, pretty and young Doesn t matter that it is only their voices that matter, the men of the BBC don t want fat old bats around view spoiler Old bats are relegated to consumer shopping shows now, or female only morning talk shows Fat still frowned on though hide spoiler Then as now the BBC is always subjective, they were very economical with the truth They make sure that what [...]

    2. Sam Schulman on said:

      Beautiful and slender, but funny a la mode de Cold Comfort Farm about the BBC in wartime, its office politics and men and women a bit of Terry Gilliam s Brazil in feeling, but much vivid And then suddenly a change in tone and one of the most beautiful descriptions of falling in love, ever and one of the best lessons in what it must feel like to be a woman, ever And then every paragraph can be like this The truth was that she was almost too well trained in endurance, having drawn since birth on [...]

    3. Anastasia Hobbet on said:

      Penelope Fitzgerald is one of the finest writers of the 20th century In the British firmament, she s right up there with Virginia Woolf, and Woolf would have given her rave reviews if only she d lived long enough to read her books In Human Voices, as in all Fitzgerald s novels, most of the drama and interaction of characters is under the surface, revealed in the most artful strokes of the pen The economy of this book is remarkable At the end and I ve now read it several times I always sit back a [...]

    4. J. on said:

      A petite fictional memoir from the Battle Of Britain, that somehow manages to be short, sweet, and light in its touch While punching well above its weight or page count Human Voices succeeds in putting real persons behind the glowing dials of the radio sets of the era, and manages to make real people out of what might have been stock characters Author Fitzgerald spares her readers the typical In Which We Serve treatment by marshalling interesting minutiae, slice of life reportage, and whenever i [...]

    5. Kate on said:

      I fear that Penelope Fitzgerald and I are not meant for one another Human Voices was highly recommended by friends whose opinions I trust and whose tastes I often share It s set in WWII London, where I ve chosen to spend a good deal of my reading time lately And it s about the BBC, an institution for which I have a great fondness It ought to have been perfect for me, but, alas, it was not.There was something about the style that Fitzgerald employed in the novel that scattered my attention I didn [...]

    6. Bettie☯ on said:

      1 4 Extra Debut Wartime in Broadcasting House, and myriad hopes and fears come and go in the course of newsgathering Read by Penelope Wilton.2 Wartime in Broadcasting House sees a visit from a boozy French General with misguided words of hope.3 Wartime in Broadcasting House American reporters arrive from France, and odd living arrangements are made 4 Wartime in Broadcasting House We learn of Annie, her piano tuner Dad and her spirited first day 5 Wartime in Broadcasting House Annie s hard musica [...]

    7. John on said:

      I remember in the weeks after 9 11 listening to WNYC, the local NYC public radio station Their FM antenna was on the World Trade Center and it went to static immediately when the planes hit, and their studios were in lower Manhattan, so they had to broadcast out of another office uptown, sending their signal out from a tower somewhere in New Jersey The voices sounded fuzzy and full of a sad confusion, and the regular music that filled the spaces between segments was no longer the usual bourgie p [...]

    8. Elena Sala on said:

      Human Voices, Fitzgerald s fourth novel is a light, funny and accurate recreation of the BBC in wartime But aside from the comedy, there is a love story silent, hopeless, perpetual a theme which will become persistent in her fiction , a sense of danger and anguish, a meditation on truth and a sort of wistful remembrance of her younger self Fitzgerald started to work at the BBC in December 1940 so she had a first hand experience of what it was like working there during the Blitz She used to say t [...]

    9. Lynda on said:

      Currently reading alongside Hermione Lees biography It begins thus Inside Broadcasting House, the Department of Recorded Programmes was sometimes called the Seraglio because its Director found he could work better when surrounded by young women and so the tone is set.Finished this novella this morning Fitzgerald like Spark and Bainbridge has the ability to conjure up an era and a cast of characters within a short novel and yet to skillfully ensure that we know and care about these characters Her [...]

    10. Marian on said:

      Masterful One of those seemingly effortless novels that make you blind with envy She does it all with a very small number of rounded characters And these are rendered with such elegant economy, it s hard to see how she does it Bravo She may be moving into my favorite writer column I intend to read the rest of her novels early next year Have read and loved The Bookshop already.

    11. Greg on said:

      This is the third book I ve read by this author The first was The Bookshop which I rated 2 stars The second was Offshore which I rated 3 stars But this one, Human Voices is my favorite so far I will be reading of this author Human Voices is a subtle comedy, a farce, and the jokes come fast and furious This was a one sit read for me and it reminded me very much of Austen s comedic masterpiece, Sense and Sensibility Yes, Fitzgerald is that good And I think Fitzgerald, for many of us, is an acquir [...]

    12. Lizzie on said:

      I was looking forward to this one but with some hesitance After a night with the first few pages, it was obliged to wait on my nightstand for a few weeks, and the whole time I wondered It isn t a smooth read, of a jumble of sharp edged bits that you bump alongside It s also almost fatally opaque, which made it hard to get through the first chapter or two But I loved it all the same It s wry and sad, and astoundingly crisp Its outpouring of scenes from 1940 London are beyond vivid, despite their [...]

    13. JacquiWine on said:

      4.5 StarsFirst published in 1980, Human Voices was Penelope Fitzgerald s fourth novel, a story set largely within the confines of the BBC during the London Blitz Like both its predecessors The Bookshop and Offshore , Human Voices was inspired by experiences from Fitzgerald s own life as she worked for the Corporation while WWII was underway.Over the course of this novel, Fitzgerald paints a vivid picture of life at the BBC, complete with all its foibles and idiosyncrasies She is particularly ade [...]

    14. Ruth on said:

      I ve completely run out of steam on the reading front at the moment I can t remember when I was less inspired I should have liked this book as it was about London, WW2 Home Front and the BBC but somehow I couldn t engage with it I hate giving less than 4 stars because actually I normally give up if I m not enjoying a book but because of the subject matter I felt I ought to persevere and managed to drag myself to the end of it It reminded me a bit of Evelyn Waugh is his flippant mode, with unsymp [...]

    15. Susan on said:

      A short novel about a shifting cast of eccentric characters working at the BBC during World War II, at times comic and at times very matter of fact Without prompting, the BBC had decided that truth was important than consolation, and, in the long run, would be effective And yet there was no guarantee of this The foreground of the story is the characters who work at the BBC The two directors who are known mainly by their job title initials RPD and PPD RPD is obsessed with capturing sounds and s [...]

    16. Dave on said:

      Great, droll book about working for the BBC during WWII I ve never read Fitzgerald before, so maybe this is not the best example, but she seems a master of understatement, ironic commentary, and well observed quirkiness without caricature The plot is loose and characters talk at cross purposes and then disappear the way they do in real life getting sick, going off to life elsewhere except without walking outside of the book s ironic eye But it s a very warm and affectionate ironic eye.My favorit [...]

    17. Bookslut on said:

      This did not meet my expectations, though possibly through no fault of its own I often think, for whatever reason, that English English books and American English books read very differently and that I sometimes stumble through English English books It s like I can t quite get a grasp on the cadence or the phrasing and it reads unnaturally to me I think this may have been the case here, because the plot of this book certainly seemed designed to delight me, and Penelope Fitzgerald is a highly est [...]

    18. Jmolentin on said:

      It takes a while to get clued into her writing style and cadence for her story But once you get it, you can soar with it The story is about BBC employees and their lives at work during WWII and the blitz.

    19. Cathy on said:

      I continue my obsessions with Penelope Fitzgerald, and this is one of her best She has so many great techniques that just grab you she lets characters develop themselves entirely via their comments and thoughts Another technique is describing the very real horrors of living in London during the Blitz as casual, everyday incidents And this book has another dimension which is the BBC and all they struggled to accomplish during the war Wow It made me appreciate that I don t risk my life every day j [...]

    20. Katrin on said:

      Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most wonderful under read novelists Her subject matter is approached with the sense of humor and kindness of a compassionate insider Truly one of the best writers of the last 50 years but nobody reads her books in America

    21. Emma Townshend on said:

      I have a particular soft spot for this novel amongst all her novels, all of which I love Set in the BBC during the war, it just captures exactly the intensity of feeling inside a single organisation and the hopes and dreams of some of the people who work there LOVELY.

    22. Laura on said:

      From BBC Radio 4 Extra When British listeners tuned in to the BBC s Nine O Clock News in the middle of 1940, they had no idea what human dramas and follies were unfolding behind the scenes Read by Penelope Wilton.

    23. Carolyn on said:

      Interesting but not as good as I had hoped will try a different one

    24. Vel Veeter on said:

      Penelope Fitzgerald is the most British name ever, and in ways, she s the most British writer ever She started publishing when she was about 60 and then went on to publish 9 novels after that She won the Booker Prize in 1978 for her novel Offshore, which is mostly just ok I read her novel, The Bookshop, about a woman opening up a bookshop in a small coastal town in 1959 The owner then overruns the town with copies of Lolita It s great.This novel is just ok This is a semi autobiographical account [...]

    25. Adam Stevenson on said:

      Unlike other Fitzgerald books, this didn t tell a tight little story that cut sharp at the end with a peculiarly satisfying but disconcerting non ending it pretty much told a non story throughout Led to believe that Lise was going to be a protagonist, she drifted out and in and we never really got to the bottom of her I suppose Sam and Jeff were sort of main characters, their power within the BBC meant their whims and ideals swayed the other characters I suppose it was the BBC itself that was th [...]

    26. Lynn on said:

      This is the first Fitzgerald I came across, and while I enjoyed it, it was a bit hard to follow There were so many characters that it was hard to keep them straight, especially since many of the young women were rather similar I wasn t sure what made them all tick, but the writing was stylish I ll try one of her better known ones.

    27. Deborah on said:

      While this style is not everyone, the story of the efforts of the BBC recording sounds for posterity in the midst of WWII is astounding The culture, their outlook on their post at BBC broadcasting house BH , their bravery to keep people abreast of the war, keeping chins up and to keep calm all a very small down to earth insight as to what was endured.

    28. Gal Shadeck on said:

      It was a disappointment on the whole, few episodes from lives of ridiculous men and women, told without a trace of humor or insight Maybe it was supposed to be a study of the English character, but as a non Englishman i failed to appreciate it.

    29. Nick on said:

      She s my idea of a genius Laconic wit and world weary sympathy Start with the beginning of spring or offshore, if you want to read her.

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