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The Passionate Friends

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

The Passionate Friends is a love story. It also is a story about dreams, despair, jealousy, sex, the struggle against social convention, the future of civilization, and much much more. It is written by a father to his son, "not indeed to the child you are now, but to the man you are going to be." He writes it so that one day, perhaps when he is dead, his grown son can read it and rediscover him as a friend and equal. In the process, he tries to make sense of a lifetime's experiences and distill some kind of wisdom from them. It is quite simply a beautiful book, both inspiring and heartbreaking.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .the misty bloom upon the turf, and the ragged, filmy carpet of gossamer on either hand, of the warm wetness of every little blade and blossom and of the little scraps and seeds of grass upon my soaking and discolored boots. Our footsteps were dark green upon the dew-grey grass. And I feel the same hungry freshness again at the thought of those stolen meetings. Presently came the sunrise, blinding, warming, dew-dispelling arrows of gold smiting through the tree stems, a flood of light foaming over the bracken and gilding the under sides of the branches. Everything is different and distinctive in those opening hours; everything has a different value from what it has by day. All the little things upon the ground, fallen branches, tussocks, wood-piles, have a peculiar intensity and importance, seem magnified, because of the length of their shadows in the slanting rays, and all the great trees seem lifted above the light and merged with the sky. And at last, a cool grey outlin. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I was surprised by how much I liked this as it is considered to be one of Wells' lesser novels. It's written as though it were a letter from a father to his adult son, explaining the path of his life and the affair he had. I found of the character of Lady Mary to be most interesting and perhaps t...more

This is definitely one of Wells' best. The book is a love letter and apology to the non-conventional woman from a man who was unable to go beyond society's notions of love and relationship to come together with her on equal terms. As he said he wanted to possess her and failed to understand that...more

I have been reading a lot of Wells back to back recently. This book was a real gem. It was so nice to have a break from Wells’ views on Socialism and trying to incorporate that into a story line.

Here we have two people, Mary and Stephen, childhood friends, potential romance, Chance and love lost....more

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a book with in an book the main characters father dies and he realises that he didn’t know anything about his fathers life so this is his book about his life to his children.
It’s about two friends. The man loves the girl but she just plays with him. On and off ov...more

Absolutely stunning. Moving, thought-provoking, mind-blowing. Beautiful.

I've noticed a pattern in some of Wells' lesser works: pages and pages of pontification on socialism and other issues of the day. This is fine-the best types of art engage with the world around it. The problem is, especially in Wells' case, it doesn't exactly make for compelling stories.

The Pass...more

I was struck by the balance between Wells' profound understanding of the nature and passion of woman and his inability to share in it, without destruction.
The book is a letter to his child, his son, and I find this more touching than any other of the themes in this work.
He writes "If I could wish...more

I meant to give this book only two stars on account of Stephen's character being rather dull and naive, quite insufferable even, at times. But how could I, with such a credible, strong, amazing woman as Mary for a main character? Wells did a magnificent job at sketching the problem of women's opp...more

Love sucks. But how gloriously, how magnificently, how tragically! Nevetheless... love will mostly bring pain and torment, so keep it in your pants. I think that's the theme of this book- I haven't read it in a while, but I remember adoring the angst, so I shall probably re-read it.

I was surprised by this book. When I think of H.G.Well, I think of
"The Time Machine" and "War of The Worlds" . This book has a good story, enough twists and turns to keep it interesting ,and ends well.

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