While England Sleeps

While England Sleeps David Leavitt has earned high praise for his empathetic portrayal of human sexuality and the complexities of intimate relationships Now with While England Sleeps available for the first time in two

  • Title: While England Sleeps
  • Author: David Leavitt
  • ISBN: 9780395752869
  • Page: 152
  • Format: Paperback
  • David Leavitt has earned high praise for his empathetic portrayal of human sexuality and the complexities of intimate relationships Now, with While England Sleeps, available for the first time in two years, Leavitt moves beyond precisely controlled domestic drama to create a historical novel, one that has greater breadth and resonance than anything he has written before.David Leavitt has earned high praise for his empathetic portrayal of human sexuality and the complexities of intimate relationships Now, with While England Sleeps, available for the first time in two years, Leavitt moves beyond precisely controlled domestic drama to create a historical novel, one that has greater breadth and resonance than anything he has written before Set against the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe, While England Sleeps tells the story of a love affair between the aristocratic young British writer Brian Botsford, who thinks homosexuality is something he will outgrow, and Edward Phelan, a sensitive and idealistic working class employee of the London Underground and a Communist party member When the strains of class difference, sexual taboo, and Brian s ambivalence impel Edward to volunteer to fight against Franco in Spain, Brian pursues him across Europe and into the violent chaos of war.

    One thought on “While England Sleeps”

    1. Initial reaction:Argh, my heart.Actual review:Sometimes, when I finish a book, I loved it so much that I have to write a review right away, However, sometimes, a book affects me so, that I need a few days to decompress. This is the latter. While England Sleeps takes place in 1930s Europe. It's told from the point of view of Brian Botsford, an upper class amateur writer, and tells of the relationship he has with Edward Phelan, a working class boy and Communist. That's all you're getting out of me [...]

    2. Enjoyed this.Interesting plagiarism debate:The plagiarised: nytimes/books/98/04/26The plagiariser: nytimes/1994/04/03/mag

    3. Beh, debbo dire, onestamente, che questo libro di Rosamunde Pilcher non è per nulla male ah no, dalla consolle mi dicono trattarsi di un romanzo di David Leavitt, già autore dell'amato Ballo di famiglia. No, allora le cose cambiano; perché son pronto a storie del genere se leggo sulla copertina il nome di Danielle Steel col carattere tipografico usato per la sigla di Sentieri, ma non da Leavitt.I preamboli non sono neanche male: Brian è un giovane che vive in una Londra stereotipata degli an [...]

    4. I read this book in a single sitting, I couldn't put it down. The trajectory of the relationship and the pathos of Brian's denial of what all dream of, passionate love and simple commitment (whether it is ever possible to achieve either in the form presented in this story or not is another question), and the subsequent loss of all through the meaningless and unecessary death of Edward, had me pinned in ways I would never have expected. Much of the intensity the story carried for me, may have had [...]

    5. I may be adding this to my favorite shelf in the next couple days. Yes, this is a title parody of Winston Churchill's 1938 While England Slept. Leavitt's While England Sleeps takes place in 1936-1937 and focuses on a young man's coming to age story in London.Brian Botsford, the main character, along with his Oxford classmates, Nigel, John, and Rupert are in a different caste and rebel for the cause against the rising Fascist power in Spain. Edward Phelan, with Communist beliefs, falls in love wi [...]

    6. Dreadful. The plagiarism alone would justify one star, but even on its own merits the book fails. It's chock-full of solecisms about both England and Spain in the 30s, making it obvious even in ignorance of the facts that Leavitt must have borrowed heavily - when he wasn't engaged in outright fantasy. A truly ridiculous book.

    7. This was an intriguing read for me, I love this period, Laurie Lees As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morningis one of my favourite books, and there are similarities (which is a good thing)I also like the casual way that sex was sometimes dealt with in the 1930's, at times.This started off so well, it was funny, there is scene where an elderly relative writes a letter praising the way that he's dealing with Germany, where I spat water out. Brian and Edwards romance starts off gloriously, and I was s [...]

    8. I don't have the language for book reviews and have no wish to repeat what other reviewers have said in much better English. I found the book very engrossing and showed a flawed main character who lives with the results of his behaviour for the rest of his life. Although it sounds dramatic it could in fact happen to anyone - not knowing whether something you did or left undone would have affected someone else's life profoundly. I read the book straight through and regretted finishing it so quick [...]

    9. From the blurb:At a meeting of republican sympathisers in London, Brian Botsford, a young middle-class writer and Cambridge graduate, meets Edward Phelan, an idealistic, self-educated London Underground worker. They share a mutual attraction. Across the divisions of class they begin an affair in secrecy.But Edward posesses “an unproblematic capacity to accept” Brian and the love that dare not speak its name, whereas Brian is more cautious and under family pressure agrees to be set up with a [...]

    10. Could not put this down. Wonderfully told story set in the lead up to WWII focusing on the love between Brian and Edward and how that goes badly wrong resulting in Edward going to Spain to fight in the civil war. Part romance, part history, part social commentary. Really enjoyed this.

    11. I'm pretty much obsessed with David Leavitt's short stories, and it turns out his writing is just as amazing in novel form. While England Sleeps is the story of a love affair in 1930s Europe between Brian, an upper-class writer, and the poor but optimistic Edward. Politics and class play a huge role in their relationship,as do struggles with identity and sexuality. Leavitt definitely knows how to tell a compelling story; I couldn't stop turning the pages of this book any more than I could Collec [...]

    12. A book so bad I had to solicit aesthetic slurs to describe it. One friend suggested "waistcoat ripper" and we'll stick with that. I didn't even need to see the controversy over plagiarism mentioned in a review to know this book was a ripoff. The author's prose changes with the setting -- when his characters are having sex in England, their speech and mannerisms sound like the half-informed imaginings of a pretentious 17-year-old who just binge-watched the TV serial of "Brideshead Revisited;" wh [...]

    13. "Así que huyes de los causantes de dolor, vas a un sitio nuevo, intentas convencerte de que el viejo sitio no existe, que la distancia borra la historia."Una maravillosa historia sobre un amor roto, representado en una cadena de autoengaños y de decisiones que terminan por dañar a las personas más queridas. A pesar de que, desde el inicio, hay un presentimiento de la tragedia amorosa que se avecina, David Leavitt ofrece un relato extraordinario que presenta a sus personajes como humanos, con [...]

    14. I fell right into the deep end of David Leavitt's While England Sleeps and only came up for air when I absolutely had to. The first half of the book is incredibly romantic and occasionally witty (sometimes hilarious) and details the sexual encounters of two twenty-something young Englishmen from different sides of the tracks (or in this case, the Tube), who are exploring each other's bodies (and Communism) for the very first time. The backdrop is the dark days of the 1930s, when the everything s [...]

    15. I love Brian. A lot of the time he's somewhat of a tosser, but he'swell, he's very honest about his own shortcomings. We know what's coming - this is no hea romance. But his relationship with the gorgeous, slightly-too-good-to-be-true, idealistic Edward is romantic and sexy before it gets all angsty. But given the times they lived in, I couldn't really blame them for their actions.In spite of Stephen Spender's dislike for this book, I'm now rather intrigued to read his autobiography World Within [...]

    16. Europe between world wars was watching the surge of fascism grow in both Germany and Spain where a fascist rebellion, led by Franco, was fighting to over throw the democratic government. The title refers to England’s hands off policy for Spain. Meanwhile thousands of young people from Europe and North America were volunteering to fight Franco’s fascists.Brian is a upper class young man who believes that he is not really gay but having fun until it is time to settle down and marry. His lover, [...]

    17. Having stayed up too late to finish this book, I can't get to sleep now, troubled by the truth it tells of love being always out of sync. And the truth of hoping to be haunted by a long-lost love when, in fact, dead is dead. The narrator's fantasy in the final paragraph is powerful enough to bear the weight of the novel--a beautiful wish he can't let go of and that won't let go of him but that, either way, will never come true.

    18. I'm on a roll lately with the "what might have been " ilk. This was right up that alley and quite well written. That being said I can understand how there was a lawsuit involved with its first publication. I think mr. Leavitt should have just owned up to it. In an interview I read that he gave to some magazine regarding the suit he all but does admit his faux pas but at the same time seems to think he somehow should've been exempt.

    19. Yes I know that by all literary standards this is trite BUT sometimes it has its place. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I'm all swooning over "Edward". Aaaahh.Ryan: Thanks for suggesting this one.

    20. A nice stab at historical gay romance. Leavitt's at his best I think in his contemporary work, especially his short stories, but this one was sweet, and not your typical "it's rough being gay in olden times" story. This was a pleasant diversion.

    21. While England Sleeps is my current favorite book! I'm not usually big on reading fiction, but the Leavitt's attention to detail, and writing style has made me a believer.

    22. Just when you think the sad part is over, it gets sadder. That last scene driving in the car? A pain that stays with you forever . . .

    23. After reading the reviews of this book, and how gut-wrenching the ending was I thought I'd give it a go. I'd just re-read Forster's Maurice and was wanting a bit of a gay period story. Oh dear. I know that it's possible to have a hateful protagonist, and for that to add to a book; but even horrible people need to grow, or at least go on some journey and be different at the end (even if they are still horrible). Brian Botsford does go on a journey, a literal one, and comes back the same. I was di [...]

    24. This was a really moving book. It was a lot more explicit than I was expecting, which I am totally here for.I did have one thought while reading it: why is this particular explicit historic romance considered to be "literature" that you might read and discuss in a college seminar, while most of the explicit historic romance novels I read are widely considered to be guilty pleasure garbage books? I actually think this book had MORE explicit sex scenes than most of the romance novels I read, gay o [...]

    25. The story of first love and a young gay man's mistakes and attempts at redemption related thereto was set against the horror of the Spanish war in 1937. Though the title says that England slept while this was going on, I expected the author to tell what was really going on in England while the events of the 1930s in Germany, Italy, and Spain were unfolding. I was disappointed when there seemed to be almost nothing said about what was going on in England at that time. That's the point; the author [...]

    26. What an interesting read. Bought from Amoeba Music in San Francisco during our USA Road trip last year to read in my 'free time'. Which of course I didn't have. It's been in my work bag since then, again to be read in my 'lunch hour'. But of course, that never happens in General Practice So, as part of my more methodical approach to reading this year I restarted it and finished it within a few days 😀Evocative of an almost forgotten age, especially the Spanish War that was the prelude to the N [...]

    27. After having enjoyed some other books by the author, this has been a great disappointment. Regardless of the controversy of plagiarism, history fails at every step: poorly profiled characters, extemporaneous sex scenes, the political and social reality of Spain, falsified by the most absurd topics Well Not worth it

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *