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An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls Description:

The action of the play occurs in an English industrial city where a young girl commits suicide and an eminently respectable British family is subject to a routine inquiry in connection with the death An inspector calls to interrogate the family and during the course of his questioning all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl s undoing The family closely knit and friendly at the beginning of the evening is shown up as selfish self centered or cowardly its good humor turning to acid and good fellowship to dislike before the evening is over The surprising revelation however is in the inspector

Rating: 3.80 out of 5

The Good Companions

The Good Companions Description:

Probably the most popular of Priestley s novels The Good Companions was an instant best seller when it was first published in July and while JBP came to feel its success subsequently overshadowed many more important works the book has remained popular It was his third novel and it is certainly well written and very readable It is too an enjoyable romp all about a stranded theatrical group the Dinky Doos rescued by Miss Trant and coverted into the Good Companions and involving their adventures with such characters as Jess Oakroyd the middle aged joiner from Bruddersford who breaks free from his miserable domestic existence Susie Dean and Inigo Jollifant It is the sort of long colourful novel which was one of Priestley s hallmarks and it is clear that Priestley enjoyed himself writing it He regarded the job as not so much a task more a kind of holiday br One of the ironies of the success of The Good Companions is that when he discussed his idea for the book with his publishers they told him that such a book would not appeal to the current reading public However the germ of the story was embedded deep into his mind and heart and writing the novel became something of an obsession He had made up his mind to write a novel that he himself could enjoy even if nobody else did and in the event a great many others also loved it The novel arrived at a time when the country was in depression and someone commented that The Good Companions soared out of the gloom like a fairy tale to lift thousands of minds into a world of literary enchantment br David Hughes in J B Priestley An Informal Study of His Work wrote The Good Companions is a simple book plainly constructed and straightforwardly told Like so much of Priestley s work its action begins on a note of rebellion while its impulse is the search for romance without losing sight of reality indeed staring into the very heart of reality for the magic Jess Oakroyd is pitched into loneliness by the drab quarrrelling of his family Miss Trant suddenly relieved in early middle age of a burden that might have lasted her lifetime turns against the trivial monotony of her genteel days in a Cotswold village Inigo Jollifant surrounded in the prep school where he teaches by petty rulings is refused permission to play the piano by the headmaster s wife gets drunk and escapes into the night Three separate rebellions against the frustrations of life put three characters on the road for what is probably the longest picaresque novel in English since Pickwick br Priestley started to write The Good Companions in January and he delivered the manuscript to Heinemann in March br At least two films have been made of The Good Companions and it has been turned into a play on several occasions

Rating: 3.45 out of 5

Time And The Conways

Time And The Conways Description:

p Time and the Conways follows the fortunes of one family over a period of years and offers a moving perspective on the abstract nature of the past present and future p p It is the War is over and the Conway family are celebrating their daughter Kay s st birthday But her sudden premonition of their lives in casts a shadow over their dreams and expectations p

Rating: 3.76 out of 5

Angel Pavement

Angel Pavement Description:

What do they call this street Angel Pavement isn t it That s a dam queer name for a street though I ve known queerer names in my time Golspie br Tucked away in the City of London lies a dingy almost forgotten side street known as Angel Pavement Here can be found the headquarters of Twigg amp Dersingham suppliers of veneers and inlays to the furniture trade Business is slow and the staff struggle against a tide of growing competition rising prices and recession Into their midst descends the mysterious and charming Mr Golspie and the promise of a brighter future Be sure life will never be the same again for all those concerned with the firm the likes of Herbert Norman Smeeth the cashier Harold Turgis the clerk Lilian Matfield the secretary typist and the boss Howard Bromport Dersingham br Angel Pavement is one of the great London novels a vivid evocation of the sprawling and crowded metropolis during the era of the painful Depression of the inter war years It is also a splendidly perceptive examination of what happens to a small group of office staff when the destructive force of a rapacious financial predator is unleashed among them br This is J B Priestley at his best indeed most critics agree that Angel Pavement was his finest novel with only Bright Day a near contender It arrived just after the huge success of The Good Companions and though it is darker than the delightful earlier novel it proved just as popular and probably more significant br Great Northern Books of Ilkley have been bringing out new editions of a number of Priestley s works and that Angel Pavement was the choice in proved a source of pleasure to all Priestley fans and hopefully the availability of the novel once again will help new readers discover the unique style and magic of Priestley

Rating: 3.61 out of 5

Dangerous Corner

Dangerous Corner Description:

At their stylish country retreat Freda and Robert Caplan host a dinner party for their colleagues and friends Young beautiful and successful they have the world at their feet Then a cigarette box and an ill considered remark spark off a relentless series of revelations and other more dangerous secrets are painfully exposed br br Priestley wrote this play to prove that a novelist could write an effective play using the strict economy of the stage br br It was first produced at the Lyric Theatre in May with Flora Robson in the role of Olwen Peel Richard Bird as Robert Caplan and Marie Ney as Freda Caplan In his biography of Priestley Vincent Brome wrote of Dangerous Corner Directed by Tyrone Guthrie it ran for just five performances then the backers withdrew their support Priestley took a cold hard look at the situation made some swift calculations with his agent A D Peters and plunged in daringly to rescue it He was by now a relatively rich man and he drew on the accumulatuion of royalties to keep the play running at a loss In the end his audacity paid off The destructive notices in the daily press were followed by favourable reviews by Ivor Brown in the Observer and James Agate in the Sunday Times It became one of the most popular plays Priestley ever wrote

Rating: 3.36 out of 5

Lost Empires

Lost Empires Description:

Richard Herncastle s account of his life on the music hall alongside his Uncle Nick in the period immediately before the outbreak of the first World War in br This account of life in the Empire Theatres of English Variety The cast is a travelling troupe of artistes dancers comedians jugglers magicians which include a murderer a depraved beauty a brilliant comedian in decay and the greatest conjurer on the English stage He is knows as Ganga Dun to his enormous audience and as Uncle Nick to the narrator of the story br Young Herncastle is a good looking Yorkshire boy ambitious as a painter whom his uncle sweeps away from a dreary office job into the nomadic boozy evanescently amorous life of Variety performers on tour With them he learns the exacting craft of the stage and avidly explores the first yearnings and triumphs of both sex and love

Rating: 3.29 out of 5

English Journey

English Journey Description:

In JB Priestley published an account of his journey through England from Southampton to the Black Country to the North East and Newcastle to Lincoln Norfolk and Norwich In capturing and describing an English landscape and people hitherto unconsidered he influenced thinking and attitudes and helped formulate a public consensus for change that led to the formation of the welfare state i English Journey i expresses Priestley s deep love of his native country and teaches us much about the human condition and the nature of Englishness A fully illustrated special anniversary edition was published by William Heinemann in and in came the Folio edition which was a version of the edition with minor emendations It contains many evocative photographs and an introduction by Margaret Drabble

Rating: 3.58 out of 5

Bright Day

Bright Day Description:

J B Priestley was especially fond of this novel of his I am not one for favourites he wrote in the introduction to the Everyman edition and I have always been irritated by questions about my favourite this that and the other But if I have a favourite among my novels it is Bright Day which I wrote towards the end of the war br The novel was written towards the end of World War II JBP disclaimed any autobiographical roots in the work but it is nontheless resonent with his early youth and coincided with JBP s recoil from the commercial film world Bright Day was the only serious novel that he wrote in the first person br Gregory Dawson the novel s hero is a middle aged film script writer who goes off to Cornwall to complete a script At his hotel he spots Lord and Lady Harndean and realizes that they are the Malcolm and Eleanor Nixey he knew when he worked as a clerk in a Bruddersford wool firm They represent the beginning of the break up of the bright day which had preceded the year and thus the story starts to unfold br Vincent Brome one of JBP s biographers wrote Bright Day is one of Priestley s two most important and successful novels The other is Angel Pavement

Rating: 3.37 out of 5

I Have Been Here Before

I Have Been Here Before Description:

I Have Been Here Before belongs to Priestley s time plays in which he explores the idea of precognition and pits fate against free will Set in a rural inn in Yorkshire three people enter a strange confrontation with the hallmarks of d j vu and a physicist attempts to prevent a disaster

Rating: 3.45 out of 5

An Inspector Calls: The Graphic Novel

An Inspector Calls: The Graphic Novel Description:

A respectable household is shocked when a strange police inspector visits them shortly after dinner and proceeds to unravel their prejudices and lies Through this almost surreal murder mystery Priestley interweaves social comment with a gripping story that twists and turns every few pages br True to the original vision of the author and featuring beautiful engaging artwork the book features the entire play unabridged in the original British English as well as an illustrated Character List Dramatis Personae pages of story artwork and support material that details the life and work of J B Priestley all beautifully presented in colour An alternative text edition with simplified US dialogue is available in paperback enabling differentiation in the classroom

Rating: 3.31 out of 5