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The History of Mr. Polly

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

A funny and touching account of the imaginative Mr. Polly who, bored and trapped in his conventional life, makes a U-turn--and changes everything.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The conversation was awkward and disconnected for a minute or so, and then suddenly a memory of the Port Burdock Bazaar occurred to Mr. Polly, and with a baffling whisper of “Lill’ dog,” and a reassuring nod, he rose up and escaped, to wander out relieved and observant into the varied London streets.

He found the collection of men he found waiting about in wholesale establishments in Wood Street and St. Paul’s Churchyard (where they interview the buyers who have come up from the country) interesting and stimulating, but far too strongly charged with the suggestion of his own fate to be really joyful. There were men in all degrees between confidence and distress, and in every stage between extravagant smartness and the last stages of decay. There were sunny young men full of an abounding and elbowing energy, before whom the soul of Polly sank in hate and dismay. “Smart Juniors,” said Polly to himself, “full of Smart Junio. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Published in 1910, this novel is the story of Alfred Polly, a generally non-descript member of the English lower middle class. The story begins when he is thirty-five years old, miserably unhappy with his life, both his circumstances and himself. In fact, he has been unhappy for almost his entire li

The esteemed M.J. Nicholls dryly encircled the genius of this novel. It was fitting to conclude my week-long tour of Britons electing paired initials as Christian names - to rest easy under the warm praise of the Scotsman with his love of completeism and exhumation.

Alfred Polly is my hero. His neol

Everyone at some point in their lives will suddenly realise in their naive exuberance they made a colossal mistake that now has its python-like grip around their cowardly little necks, and that the only solution is to burn the shop and down and become a country hobo. Or maybe only the first part of

This was the first H.G. Wells book that I read, maybe twenty years ago as a teenager and so my first experience of his writing wasn't anything science fiction based at all, and I've only read some of those ones more recently. This is a very enjoyable, old fashioned kind of a novel about a man who se

Well! Color me surprised! H.G. Wells! Writer of Science Fiction! Writing a book that I actually loved!! I was really skeptical because to date I haven't read anything by Wells that I've enjoyed. Enter, The History of Mr Polly! What a delightful story! Humorous, fast pace! I'm sorry it ended so quick

Excellent novel written 100 years ago. The novel really gains steam with Polly’s disappearance from Fishbourne and the fight scenes with Mr. Uncle Jim are some of the best dark humor that I have read.

H.G. Wells is most widely known, and correctly so, as one of the original sci-fi authors with War o

The History of Mr. Polly (1910) is a wonderful little novel

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) is now most remembered as a pioneer of science fiction (e.g. The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1897)) however in his Edwardian era heyday he

Until now, the only H G Wells that I had read were the far more well-known key Sci-Fi works (War of the Worlds etc) and was more or less ignorant of his other works. I am now astonished to learn what a prolific writer Wells was, producing so many and such a varied wealth of works.

The History of Mr P

Welcome to Alfred Polly's mid-existence crisis. That's where we meet him, then we backtrack from his infancy through his life up to what might just be a fresh-starting point...

"...filled him with a vague and mystical happiness that he had no words, even mispronounceable words, to express." (location

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