"Living introduced a whole school of proletarian literature, and yet remains apart from, and superior to, any of its followers" Times Literary Supplement

The Duprets, upper-class owners of a Birmingham iron-foundry, struggle to keep the business going in the 1920s, while young Lily Gates keeps house for three men who are employed there: the patriarchal Craigan, who owns the house; her worthless father Joe; and stalwart Jim, who is bashfully courting her. Sensing, however, that life must hold greater excitement than she can hope for in this closed little world, Lily succumbs to the bolder approach of a rival suitor, Bert, who takes her to the pictures and, eventually, to Liverpool with a view to a new life in Canada. Bert is not destined to stay the course, though, and the affair ends in tears. Bravely Lily returns to her threadbare household.

"Living is a book about how people really live: their hopes, but also their compromises and defeats" Jeremy Treglown

"The best novel of working-class factory life we have" Walter Allen

"His terrain here is close to D.H. Lawrence's, with the difference that whereas Lawrence escaped from the working class, Green escaped into it...His feat of equilibrium was to show lives whose impoverishment he fully recognized as nevertheless sites of comedy, excitement, complex feeling, and beauty" John Updike

About the author

Henry Green

Henry Green was the pen name of Henry Vincent Yorke. Born in 1905 near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, England, he was educated at Eton and Oxford and went on to become managing director of an engineering business, writing novels in his spare time. His first novel, Blindness (1926) was written whilst he was still at school and published whilst he was at Oxford. He married in 1929 and had one son, and during the Second World War served in the London Fire Brigade. Between 1926 and 1952 he wrote nine novels, Blindness, Living, Party Going, Caught, Loving, Back, Concluding, Nothing and Doting, and a memoir, Pack My Bag. Henry Green died in December 1973
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