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The Lost Girl

D. H. Lawrence

Book Overview: 

In this most under-valued of his novels, Lawrence once again presents us with a young woman hemmed in by her middle-class upbringing and (like Ursula Brangwen in The Rainbow) longing for escape. Alvina Houghton's plight, however, is given a rather comic and even picaresque treatment. Losing first her mother, a perpetual invalid, and later her cross-dressing father, a woefully ineffectual small-scale entrepreneur, Alvina feels doomed to merge with the tribe of eternal spinsters who surround her in the dreary mining community of Woodhouse.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Alvina's face.

"Don't talk, Miss Frost," moaned Alvina.

"Everything is for you," murmured the sick woman—"except—" and she enumerated some tiny legacies which showed her generous, thoughtful nature.

"Yes, I shall remember," said Alvina, beyond tears now.

Miss Frost smiled with her old bright, wonderful look, that had a touch of queenliness in it.

"Kiss me, dear," she whispered.

Alvina kissed her, and could not suppress the whimpering of her too-much grief.

The night passed slowly. Sometimes the grey eyes of the sick woman rested dark, dilated, haggard on Alvina's face, with a heavy, almost accusing look, sinister. Then they closed again. And sometimes they looked pathetic, with a mute, stricken appeal. Then again they closed—only to open again tense with pain. Alvina wiped her blood-phlegmed lips.

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Community Reviews

As ever, Lawrence writes beautifully. In this novel, he seems a little bitter about the place of the exceptional individual in a conformity-based society. I enjoy his bisexual heroes, and laughed out loud when the one here tells his boyfriend that there is room for all three of them in his new gi...more

Shamefully this is the first novel by D.H Lawrence I've read (my English Lit friends must hate me!). The Lost Girl is slow and brooding as it seems like a book that focuses much more on the rich and beautifully textured nature of the English language, rather than the actual story if you catch my...more

The Lost Girl by D.H. Lawrence is a remarkable achievement of literary craftsmanship. Lawrence's meticulous attention to detail provides the reader with a penetrating look into one girl's world, a world of inner struggle. The flowering youth, Alvina, who has always been cared for by her father an...more

In a very famous context, D. H. Lawrence is himself famous for using a word beginning with ‘f’, a word that is infamous rather than famous. Mentioning this word and then repeating it got the author into some serious trouble that was not resolved until decades after his death. In this book, The Lo...more

This book gets off to a slow start, but it's well worth sticking it out through the first few chapters. At first I was a little skeptical, seeing as how the main character, Alvina, is portrayed somewhat as a tragic "spinster" of 30...but this couldn't be farther from the truth. While there are de...more

"'Why is it? I don't know. I don't know. The pictures are cheap, and they are easy, and they cost the audience nothing, no feeling of the heart, no appreciation of the spirit, cost them nothing of these. And so they like them, and they don't like us, because they must feel the things we do, from...more

DH Lawrence, hipster writer. Full of sullen, handsome young circus men on bicycles.

What a lady! Apart from that, some other unforgettable characters, and discerning information on class divisions in the 1920s.

It pains me, but...DNF, circa pg 105.

I've read & enjoyed Lawrence in the past, so this was greatly disappointing. But I just can't make myself continue. I gave it two chances, & my reaction remains constant. It's SO FUCKING SLOW. (And I have no guilt whatsoever for describing it thus, as...more

So, the scholars agree that this book isn't as good as most of Lawrence's other work, and maybe they're right. I don't know. I'm not a scholar. All I know is that this book helped me recapture the sense of absorption I felt while reading The Rainbow at a very stressful and unhappy time in my life...more

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