This was not a read I was looking forward to and unfortunately, my suppositions were on target. Lawrence is known for his verbosity and he certainly did not stray from that in The Rainbow. Redundant use of words, some even within the same sentence is another flaw he is known for, and here again, he was on his mark. I think both were most definitely intended by the author, but I found both to be quite distracting.
Set in rural England, The Rainbow introduces the Brangwen family and takes the reader from the mid-1800’s through the early 1900’s as three generations marry, have families and struggle with the inevitable questions of life in general.
We meet Tom Brangwen as a self-centered young man who chides his cross-eyed housekeeper, Tilly as he searches for a wife. Not enough substance to like or dislike this character, in my humble opinion.
The Polish widow, Lydia Lensky, five years Tom’s senior, becomes his wife. She and her daughter, Anna settle in to rural life without much fuss. After Lydia has a son, Anna and her stepfather Tom grow closer together. Lydia seems to be a character of great depth, however, we never get a close enough look which is rather unfortunate as what is revealed of her is intriguing.
The central character is Anna Lensky, whom we see from the age of four through young womanhood. Here is a character we do get to see into quite thoroughly, but what we see is a spoiled and totally self-absorbed woman who never seems to consider anyone’s feelings but her own. As a young teacher, she resorts to thrashing her unruly students, she sends her young love, Anton Skrebensky away, she tires of her female lover and upon Anton’s return, she vacillates between seduction and indifference. Anna is not a likable character at all.
I was hoping Mr. Lawrence would grow on me, but that has not yet happened. Were I to be in the company of this esteemed author, I would attempt to avoid discussing my thoughts on his works.
My rating for The Rainbow is a 6 out of 10.
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