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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

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

Perhaps 3.5. I really enjoyed this one, though not quite as much as Kipps or Love and Mr Lewisham. It was a slightly odd and very interesting read, with very interesting themes and a strong ending.

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

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

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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