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The Card

Arnold Bennett

Book Overview: 

The ‘Card’ in question is Edward Henry Machin – his mother called him ‘Denry.’
This light-hearted story is of his rise from humble beginnings as the son of a washerwoman and sempstress in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, in the pottery towns (which Arnold Bennett christened ‘The Five Towns’) of the English Midlands; how, by his own wits, enterprise and ‘nerve’ he rose to wealth, married bliss and public recognition as the youngest-ever mayor of his home town.

“’And yet,’ demanded Councillor Barlow, ‘what’s he done? What great cause is he identified with?’

‘He’s identified,’ said the speaker, ‘with the great cause of cheering us all up’.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Convenient!" she cried. "It's perfectly convenient, only I don't care to. I won't pay a penny until I'm forced. Let Mr Herbert Calvert do his worst, and then I'll pay. And not before! And the whole town shall hear all about Mr Herbert Calvert!"

"I see," he laughed easily.

"Convenient! " she reiterated, contemptuously. "I think everybody in Bursley knows how my client. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"At two o'clock she had been a name to him. At five minutes past two he was in love with her."

Arnold Bennett is proof that you don't have to have secret agents, vampires, et al to create an exciting story sometimes all you need is good and interesting characters to care about with flaws like we...more

It's quite funny, but it's also somewhat repetitive at times. There are surely way too many details on how he makes money and the overall industry of it.
It's one of those books which you love in one chapter and highly despise in the next for wasting your time. The funniest and more brilliant chap...more

What a delight. One of the funniest novels I have read. The main character is so perfectly drawn, and so thoroughly likeable. He's summed up in the final line of the novel: some pompous worthy asks what Denry Machin has done to be so popular, and is answered,
'He's identified with the great cause...more

The tale of Denry Machin, as told by novelist Arnold Bennett in The Card (Methuen, 1911), is a lark, a droll comedy, a jovial adventure in business and life success - a literary "Horatio Alger" story. Bennett tells his story in short chapters, and the book as a whole is not long. It is consistent...more

My original review somehow got attached to a version of this credited to an author who adapted it! Anyway:

This is the humorous tale of Edward Henry Machin (his mother "saved a certain amount of time each day by addressing her son as Denry"), set in a small industrial town at the start of the 20th...more

4 1/2 stars

The only way to describe this is 'Great Fun!'. Edward Henry Machin, or 'Denry' as his mother calls him, is what we modern day people would recognise as a born entrepreneur. He's extraordinarily gifted at seeing an opportunity and having the courage to go after it. He's born far down th...more

Really 3 and a half stars. A fun read.

Ferris Buehler, in England, about 1900 - that's Denry Machin, the eponymous "card." It's a light "read" (I did this one as an audio book, see below), with a great, great main character in Denry Machin.

These chapters wouldn't quite work as independent stories, but they are very episodic - without...more

I’ve been meaning to get round to reading Bennett for some time, and picking up this rather slim comic novel cheap at my favourite second hand bookshop gave me the impetus required. I’ve noted that Cecily, one of my GR friends is a fan; so it’s about time I started to fill the gap.
It is set in t...more

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