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Tono Bungay

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

Tono-Bungay is a realist semi-autobiographical novel. It is narrated by George Ponderevo, a science student who is drafted in to help with the promotion of Tono-Bungay, a harmful stimulant disguised as a miraculous cure-all, the creation of his uncle Edward. The quack remedy Tono-Bungay seems to have been based upon the patent medicines Carter's Little Liver Pills and Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People.... As the tonic prospers, George experiences a swift rise in social status, elevating him to riches and opportunities that he had never imagined, nor indeed desired. The novel displays Edward's social climbing satirically, and also George's discomfort at rising in social class. The hero's personal life is narrated with unusual frankness for an Edwardian novel.... The empire eventually overextends itself and then collapses. George tries unsuccessfully to save his uncle and eventually ends up designing battleships for the highest bidder. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Not the scenery, perhaps, or the air we get here, but—LIFE! We've got very comfortable little rooms, very comfortable considering, and I shall rise. We're not done yet, we're not beaten; don't think that, George. I shall pay twenty shillings in the pound before I've done—you mark my words, George,—twenty—five to you.... I got this situation within twenty-four hours—others offered. It's an important firm—one of the best in London. I looked to that. I might have got four or five shillings a week more—elsewhere. Quarters I could name. But I said to them plainly, wages to go on with, but opportunity's my game—development. We understood each other."

He threw out his chest, and the little round eyes behind his glasses rested valiantly on imaginary employers.

We would go on in silence for a space while he revised and restated that encounter. Then he would break out abruptly with some banal phrase.

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Community Reviews

This is my first Wells. I was a bit turned off by the description, which suggests most of the plot revolves around the development of a quack medicine (the strangely-named Tono-Bungay). That's a chunk of it, but there are other chunks; it's also a very well done Bildungsroman in which the protagonis

At times, I almost really liked this book for its criticism of consumer capitalism (for a book published in 1909, T-B feels ahead of its time in this respect) and the realness of some of the characters, but I got fed up with the narrator/author constantly explaining his own symbolism... not to menti

This is Wells writing stylistically like Dickens in a mode of novel-writing that aims at the nineteenth century version of social justice (even though it was published at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century).
Today he is mainly remembered for his science fiction. "Tono Bungay" is an

"Tono-Bungay" is a novel written by H. G. Wells and published in 1909. It has been called "arguably his most artistic book." As for Wells himself he considered "Tono-Bungay as the finest and most finished novel upon the accepted lines" that he had "written or was ever likely to write." While reading

H. G. Wells’ Tono-Bungay may be strangely named, but it is one of the better-known of his many novels that are not “scientific romances.” The first-person narrator is George Ponderevo, a country boy who comes to work for his get-rich scheming uncle Edward “Teddy” Ponderevo. Tono-Bungay is a quack pa

Yo no conocía de nada esta novela de H.G.Wells. Tenía en mente una historia diferente a la que terminé encontrando pero me ha gustado igualmente.
Retrata muy bien la caída de la nobleza y el auge de los nuevos ricos que luchan por hacerse un hueco en la alta sociedad.

Reseña: https://contandoteunlibro

Maybe the best H.G. Wells' incursion outside his mother ship of science fiction, Tono-Bungay is the tale of a useless and addictive medicine embellished by an early form of marketing. However, behind the major plot, it hides an interesting criticism of a capitalist society, where everyone works and

‘Tono-Bungay’ is a story of the English class system, social mores and social climbing. More specifically, it is a story of capitalism, the advertising industry and the generation of income / creation of wealth based on the sale and promotion of pointless, ineffective products that the buying public

I have read a number of H.G. Wells's early sci-fi novels. This is the first time I have read one of his "other" novels, and I am surprised to see that it is by far his best work. Tono-Bungay is a bildungsroman about growing up poor in Victorian England and making one's way in the world by a combinat

"А теперь каждый, если только у него не слишком высокие требования к
жизни и он не обременен чувством собственного достоинства, может позволить
себе кой-какие излишества. Ныне можно прожить всю жизнь кое-как, ничему
всерьез не отдаваясь, потворствуя своим прихотям и ни к чему себя не
принуждая, не испыт

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