Riceyman Steps

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-04-15
  • Publisher: Dover Pubns

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In the "great metropolitan industrial district" of East London, Riceyman Steps lead from King's Cross Road to Riceyman Square. Here in this busy neighborhood, Henry Earlforward, the proprietor of a secondhand bookstore, takes a keen interest in Violet Arb, the widowed owner of a nearby confectionary shop.  The middle-aged shopkeepers marry, but their chance for late-in-life happiness is increasingly shadowed by Henry's compulsive miserliness. Violet slowly realizes that her husband views everyday necessities — heating, electricity, even food — as extravagances to be resisted through self-denial. Starved for love as well as physical nourishment, the couple's only hope for survival lies with Elsie, their maid, and her warm-hearted generosity.
Winner of the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, England's oldest literary award, Riceyman Steps weaves an atmospheric re-creation of London's harsh post-World War I mood. Its powerful exploration of sexual hunger and repression, written simply and with a deceptively light ironic tone, offers a compelling story of alienation, thwarted passion, and obsession.

Author Biography

British novelist Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) is best known for his series of novels set in the "Five Towns," a thinly fictionalized version of the Potteries, the Staffordshire region where he grew up. He was also a playwright and journalist, and during World War I he served as Director of Propaganda for France at the Ministry of Information.

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