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10 thoughts on “The House in Norham Gardens

  1. says:

    Clare, her hands in the pockets of her school coat, her face stinging from the cold, moved slowly round the church, staring at one inscription after another, giving her attention to the whole chronicle of wood merchants, burghers and benefactors of the poor, of husbands and fathers, wives, mothers and children She felt an obligation to listen It would be nice, she thought, to be a person living in this place and sit every Sunday beside these names, especially if maybe they were the same as you Clare, her hands in the pockets of her school coat, her face stinging from the cold, moved slowly round the church, staring at one inscription after another, giving her attention to the whole chronicle of wood merchants, burghers and benefactors of the poor, of husbands and fathers, wives, mothers and children She felt an obligation to listen It would be nice, she thought, to be a person living in this place and sit every Sunday beside these names, especially if maybe they were the same as your own name, or people you knew You would feel settled, if you were a person who did that.Clare is fourteen She dreams of the summer when the snow is blank Her friend from school, Liz, wishes she could be nineteen already They are lying back on Liz s bed, having done so all the Saturday Clare had spent the week pining for this Saturday, despite that she doesn t do anything when it is there, or at least Liz accuses her of not doing anything I think there s something to be said for doing nothing on a Saturday Clare knows better, says that Liz would go crazy not knowing what happened between fourteen and nineteen She needs all of that in between rattling in her head I loved that Clare knew this about Liz but inside it takesthan quiet acceptance to feel at home in her young skin It is still winter, still indoors, time running away and time not doing anything at all Clare has lived with her great aunts Susan and Anne since she was nine Her parents died when she was six and she hasn t let go of the memories of them she had, or of the early years of family who lived like strangers Holidays with cousins who speak in code The six year olds smile at her in condescension Not one of them Clare wonders about how they cope in the outside world of unfamilial languages Aunt Anne is eighty one Aunt Susan is seventy eight They are vague about today and yesterdays of decades past are closer to them Their lease for their great house with the ecclesiastical windows and porches in Norham Gardens is up in fifteen years Heads together trying to manage the money they don t have, housekeeper Mrs Hedges she sa friend to them The heads in the clouds don t pay her much, if at all, so it can only be friendship that she takes care of them as she does lets in reality too much considering the house not a problem Clare can t admit to herself that the Aunts, who with greater frequency cannot do what they once could, will not be around in fifteen years Another night that one of them stays in bed Blame the cold Clare is impatient for right now, yet estranged from any visions of a future self Schools and other well meaning relatives want her to think of tomorrow The youth magazines of the day haunt her with their promises of brand new transformations Wear this shampoo, smile with these young men while you are still young enough to do so I loved the quiet pacing in the fear of change If you came out and admitted that you were afraid of how old the Aunts are. Liz is always telling her to go some place with her When she s cycling with the other kids she s free The school days are euphoria and despair Forget your today in the history on the chalkboard I think my very favorite part is when their boarder Maureen says to Claire It s never just you Clare is marveling that she had thought it was just her That only she had to run home to make sure that home was still there as she left it Maureen is thirty, works in an office, makes disparaging remarks about herself, usually her weight She always lets the truth slip in offhand remarks How she isn t so very jealous about her younger and prettier friend getting married and she is not It sa worrying always in the back of her mind I don t know if she did it on purpose or not but I liked Maureen a lot There s something comforting about people who are always themselves like the Aunts, but Maureen has this way of giving herself away that s just as good She is right that nothing is ever just you Someone has always felt that same way as you had I liked everybody in this book a lot Like during the school production of Macbeth when the audience extra Clare ruins the scene by talking about seeing Banquo s ghost They ve already forgotten it when she goes back to school That was great Norham Gardens is so perfect for stuff like that For being happy in today, real miseries, small ones, for being worried, and how Clare could have thought it was just her Another set of thoughts, and experiences, and attitudes had joined all the others whose misty imprint surely still lingered somehow behind the yellow brick and gothic windows Yearnings of late Victorian housemaids, boredom of the aunts, cloistered in the schoolroom, the despondency of governesses Great grandmother s busy pursuit of an appropriate and well ordered life, the heady breeze of the aunts resolution to determine their own futures Friends, relations, students And, faintest of all, the alien flavour of remote, half understood things known only to great grandmother The shadows of another world and another time There s this chest in their attic the Aunts keep everything with something their father brought back from an expedition in New Guinea It s a piece of wood It has a picture on it It s art, it s a anthropomorphized know it all It s black, red and yellow Stripes and war paint and forgotten ancient They want it back in her dreams Every night Clare visits the edges of forests The edges of people circles and intent She knows it is a dream and wakes up, only remembering that she dreamed Clare is reading one of her great grandfather s books on New Guinea The book is quoted in the start of every chapter I loved this She s concerned that they can t remember why they needed things like the tamburans Tamburans aren t really shields but they are, the belief that their fathers and grandfathers protect them from the mysteries of the world They no longer make them because they can t remember why they needed them I don t know if the tamburan, or the spirits of the New Guineans, is communicating with Clare in her dreams It s the fear of forgetting herself like they did that gets to me It could be an obvious connection, look at these guys They were overtaken by the outside But where would they be Killing each other People need people, people are just people Yesterday is history, an hour ago is history I loved that Clare could sit there and live all of how it could be beyond the making connections part How can you forget it it isn t ever just you Could be a slab of wood or it could be mystery that follows you with its eyes I loved how she s thinking about them just like she s thinking about stories from her Aunts They tell her stuff like why the butcher is such a creep During the war and rations people would put up with any humiliation to get a choice piece Visiting the New Guinea collection in the museum Clare meets a new friend John John is from Uganda and in England to study He becomes part of her life like Maureen Maybe he won t always be there I think he ll have to go back to the family he misses Clare feels like he had always been there This is what made Norham so special, I think It was a great idea to haunt Clare with the shield I loved that the yellow, black and red arevivid than the similar pieces in the museum They arevivid each time she dares to think about it But the symbolism aside, the concentrating, it s the every day in spite that works so well Clare goes touring London with John on one of those days she feels like she doesn t know what to do with time I forget which Aunt had the idea to get out of herself this way I loved them for it, anyway They go to the zoo Clare thinks it is awful and odd how the Orang seems to see in all directions at once But the elephant she likes best The people aren t laughing John says that people aren t laughing because they think the monkeys are funny John also laughs a lot He laughs when he doesn t think things are funny Sometimes Clare can tell which is which, sometimes she can t He has his own way of giving himself away, just like Maureen They have their own secrets, it s just a way of paying attention to people so you re not the jerk that calls other people fake for how they have to live inside and outside themselves Anyway, Lively has a light touch this way that I appreciated a lot She has a name, Samantha, and was born in captivity I didn t like that Clare preferred the elephant for reaching out with her trunk I think it s like the conversations John and Clare have about how some people are comfortable with the expected, and how you can forget how to not live that way Things like people not coming right out and asking if Clare can remember her parents I wanted to be in the book and talk to Clare about the orangs and the elephants, really What if you met them in the wild, took away the people and their reactions that don t have anything to do with how they are their own animal alone What if you saw them on different days When a bad day felt like it would never end Maybe their best friend in the neighboring exhibit was hibernating and maybe Sighs I really loved The House in Norham Gardens I didn t like that the pacing sped up in the end, when Clare finally knows what she already knew to tell Liz, that you need the rattling in your head She really already knew she would have to memorize her Aunts for one day too That she wouldn t forget why she needed them like the New Guineas forgot why they needed their magical ancestors But really I think I just didn t want the book to end and that s all The pacing was so perfect, scary faces in blank wallpaper and snow squares, it s exactly like a Saturday of doing nothing and a London trip of forgetting yourself, and dreams you can t remember and people giving themselves away It s never just you A self consciousness kind of time obsession behind the walls.I bought this book not too long ago in one of my I m going to stockpile books for a day I feel bad and that book will take the place of the edges It really did do that There s nothing that beats that I wonder how her great grandfather wrote in his paper on New Guinea that they were forced to walk in rivers with alligators in them Really, alligators Since when are there gators in New Guinea


  2. says:

    While idly reading sections of the book, Four British Fantasists Place and Culture in the Children s Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper by Charles Butler, I became intrigued with his account of Penelope Lively s interest in how layers of peoples and ages appear in the landscape, and of interpreting the past through examination of these layers Butler calls this applied archeology Here is Butler s comment on Lively s The House in Norham Gardens While idly reading sections of the book, Four British Fantasists Place and Culture in the Children s Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper by Charles Butler, I became intrigued with his account of Penelope Lively s interest in how layers of peoples and ages appear in the landscape, and of interpreting the past through examination of these layers Butler calls this applied archeology Here is Butler s comment on Lively s The House in Norham Gardens The sense of the past s irrecoverability permeates Penelope Lively s work, although the solutions she offers are partial, and oftenconcerned with acquiring the wisdom to cope with the inexorability of time than with successfully opposing its march Clare in The House in Norham Gardens , for example, is well aware that her frail and aged aunts will die quite soonClare can do nothan pay them the fragile tribute of a faithful remembrance, and this is the resolution with which the book concludes I m learning them by heart, she thought, that s what I m doing, that s all I can do, only that Through such acts the human mind itself becomes a museum, or a time capsuleThis is applied archeology indeed, an offering to time both defiant and propitiatory p 60 61 So, that is the statement that interested me in reading this older novel, which is ostensibly for children It was published in 1974 and although I was not a young child then, I was only just past childhood, so the feel of the time period was rather nostalgic for me I think if I had read this book as a child, I would have liked it, but for different reasons than those that appealed to me now Clare, the fourteen year old protagonist, has been orphaned and lives with her two great aunts aged 78 and 80 in a three story rambling Victorian house in England Servants no longer help maintain its many rooms and it is settling and crumbling around its occupants Other similar houses in the neighborhood have been turned into apartments You learn that, even though the house has been in the family for many years, it is only held under a long term lease, so when the aunts are gone, the house will probably leave the family as well The two aunts had never married and were sharp, intellectual women, although now frail and rarely able to leave their house or wander from their routine There is a woman hired to help clean and cook, but Clare herself must take on responsibilities beyond her years She exhibits a rare maturity To make ends meet, Clare and her aunts take in two boarders, who add interest to the story One is a twenty something working girl, the other an African grad student Clare s great grandparents the parents of her aunts had been anthropologists who had studied the people of New Guinea Along with the layers of family history in the attic are items her great grandfather brought back from New Guinea, including a ceremonial, painted shield This shield figures large in the storyline and in Clare s interest in working through the changes time brings, both to her and to the objects in her life For me, some of the best British children s books are set in large, atmospheric old houses, and this book follows that pattern The shield adds a very slight bit of a supernatural mystery The real interest for me though at this point in my life , was how the author addressed the passage of time and the questions that confront us all when we realize that, as my father pointed out to me long ago, this is not a permanent arrangement Clare is precocious for her years in the way she grapples with this life problem This book is peopled with interesting, well drawn characters and with lots to think about I very much enjoyed it


  3. says:

    Quite possibly the best book I will read all year, with a wonderful main character, two forgetful aunts, an old house and absolutely faultless time slips.


  4. says:

    Only the second Lively book that I have read everyone s probably read The Ghost of Thomas Kempe and yet another author who I am ashamed to have allowed to pass through my literary net Extremely powerful, ahead of its time in relation to sensitively tackling the problems of British Imperialism and race, Lively sets her story in central Oxford where Clare, a young teenager, lives with her elderly aunts Not only is it the absolute clarity in her depiction of everyday life and the people in it o Only the second Lively book that I have read everyone s probably read The Ghost of Thomas Kempe and yet another author who I am ashamed to have allowed to pass through my literary net Extremely powerful, ahead of its time in relation to sensitively tackling the problems of British Imperialism and race, Lively sets her story in central Oxford where Clare, a young teenager, lives with her elderly aunts Not only is it the absolute clarity in her depiction of everyday life and the people in it or her incredible grasp of language and deftness of dialogue but, in Clare, she has created a strong, independent minded teenage girl whose focus is on knowledge and recognising the strengths in everyone We speak about how the prevalence of girls in literature as independent is on the rise but this book was published in 1974 Perhaps it sa case of culture and publishers caringand wanting to display itYou want a powerful image of an independent, intelligent, real teenager then Clare Mayfield could be one of them


  5. says:

    Very enjoyable read.https piningforthewest.co.uk 2020 0 Very enjoyable read.https piningforthewest.co.uk 2020 0


  6. says:

    The House in Norham Garden was published in 1974 and in many ways it now seems very dated, set as it is in an educational landscape of O Levels, and Latin translations and taking place against a backdrop in which black people are still something of a novelty in British society Its central character, fourteen year old Clare, lives in a huge, rambling old Victorian house in North Oxford with her two great aunts who were, in their time a pair of blue stockings and who now live as much in the past The House in Norham Garden was published in 1974 and in many ways it now seems very dated, set as it is in an educational landscape of O Levels, and Latin translations and taking place against a backdrop in which black people are still something of a novelty in British society Its central character, fourteen year old Clare, lives in a huge, rambling old Victorian house in North Oxford with her two great aunts who were, in their time a pair of blue stockings and who now live as much in the past as in the present Their father, Clare s great grandfather, was a Victorian anthropologist and the attic is filled with objects he collected during a trip to New Guinea, including a beautifully decorated shield known as a tamburan, which fulfilled a ritual function in the tribe from whom it was taken, connecting them with the spirits of their ancestors.Clare becomes pre occupied with the tamburan which seems to draw her back to the life of the village in which it was created In emotionally charged dreams, which begin to intrudeandupon her waking life, she struggles to return the shield to its rightful owners She is only released from her obsession when she comes to accept the impossibility of preserving the past, except in memory It s a beautifully written and extremely subtle book, full of meditations upon the subject of time, history, change and death but the sensibility is very adult and I feel it is muchlikely to be appreciated by adults looking back upon their childhoods than by contemporary juvenile readers


  7. says:

    It s a long time since I read this book, so long that I m not even going to make my usual inaccurate stab at a guess That doesn t matter I remember this book glowingly, searingly, this is a wonderful book.Why The writing It s been so long I couldn t say for sure, except that I know I loved it from the first, and it s usually the writing that seduces me, but I don t think it was the writing that lodged it in my mind It might have been Clare and her aunts, of course, the idea of a girl growin It s a long time since I read this book, so long that I m not even going to make my usual inaccurate stab at a guess That doesn t matter I remember this book glowingly, searingly, this is a wonderful book.Why The writing It s been so long I couldn t say for sure, except that I know I loved it from the first, and it s usually the writing that seduces me, but I don t think it was the writing that lodged it in my mind It might have been Clare and her aunts, of course, the idea of a girl growing up normal in a household that would have blown the minds of many of my schoolfriends.It might have been the counterpoint of their exotic lodger against the grey realities of England.It might have been the story of the tambouran itself, woven in so skillfully, the little glimpses at each chapter heading gradually taking their place in main narrative, the exploration of the somethings lost in progress, of the delicate balance between undoubted improvements in health and opportunity, and the loss of diversity.It might be that it was one of the first books I read that forced me to recognise the impossibility of a perfectly happy ending.Or it could just be that it prompted me to visit the Pitt Rivers Museum, which is an entirely worthwhile outcome in its own right


  8. says:

    3.5 StarsI had mixed feelings about this book As it s not heavy on plot, I struggled to get into it, but found I enjoyed itas I went along Great descriptions throughout though, especially about streets in Oxford and explorations in the Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums I especially like this paragraph from the beginning of the first chapter Belbroughton Road Linton Road Bardwell Road The houses there are quite normal They are ordinary sizes and have ordinary chimneys and roo 3.5 StarsI had mixed feelings about this book As it s not heavy on plot, I struggled to get into it, but found I enjoyed itas I went along Great descriptions throughout though, especially about streets in Oxford and explorations in the Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums I especially like this paragraph from the beginning of the first chapter Belbroughton Road Linton Road Bardwell Road The houses there are quite normal They are ordinary sizes and have ordinary chimneys and roofs and gardens with laburnum and flowering cherry Park Town As you go south they are growing Getting higher and odder By the time you get to Norham Gardens they have tottered over the edge into madness these are not houses but flights of fancy They are three stories high and disguise themselves as churches They have ecclesiastical porches instead of front doors and round normal windows or pointed gothic ones, neatly grouped in threes with flaring brick to set them off They reek of hymns and the Empire, Mafeking and the Khyber Pass, Mr Gladstone and Our Dear Queen They have nineteen rooms and half a dozen chimneys and iron fire escapes A bomb couldn t blow them up, and the privet in their gardens has survived two World Wars People live in these houses


  9. says:

    I d love to give this to a test group of 13 15 year olds in order to discover whether any of them like it or not Maybe there is a sensitive, thoughtful girl who would respond to this book, but my hunch is that adult readers will like it muchthan the adolescent audience it was written for.Phillip Pullman wrote the intriguing forward to my edition, and his comments about time being the invisible character in this book struck me as very apt There is a time travel element to the plot, and I d love to give this to a test group of 13 15 year olds in order to discover whether any of them like it or not Maybe there is a sensitive, thoughtful girl who would respond to this book, but my hunch is that adult readers will like it muchthan the adolescent audience it was written for.Phillip Pullman wrote the intriguing forward to my edition, and his comments about time being the invisible character in this book struck me as very apt There is a time travel element to the plot, and I still can t decide if it adds anything or not, but time does play the central role not only in the plot but in the entire philosophical underpinning of the book.I really enjoyed Lively s writing style After reading this book, I made a visit to Norham Gardens in North Oxford and bought severalof Lively s books at Blackwell s, the venerable Oxford bookstore The Pitt River Museum also plays an important role in the book, and I hope to visit that, too, in the not too distant future


  10. says:

    14 year old orphan Clare lives with two elderly great aunts in a large house in North Oxford in the mid 1970s Her great grandfather, the aunts father, was a Victorian explorer who brought artefacts back for museums some of which are still in the attic, giving Clare strange dreams The aunts are stuck in the 1930s, the house in Victorian times, and the artefacts are older still and Clare, who is mostly refreshingly angst free, has to find her own way in all this, and build her own life.I lo 14 year old orphan Clare lives with two elderly great aunts in a large house in North Oxford in the mid 1970s Her great grandfather, the aunts father, was a Victorian explorer who brought artefacts back for museums some of which are still in the attic, giving Clare strange dreams The aunts are stuck in the 1930s, the house in Victorian times, and the artefacts are older still and Clare, who is mostly refreshingly angst free, has to find her own way in all this, and build her own life.I loved this, but it is probably partly because Clare is close to my own age so I remember being that age at that time, and I know all the places she goes to including having been inside one house in Norham Gardens they are still there, although I don t suppose many if any are single family homes anyI m not sure if teenagers these days or ever would love it It isn t the exciting adventure one might expect from some of the blurbs about ghosts and ancestral shields It sa coming of age book with a level headed main character in unusual but privileged circumstances


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The House in Norham Gardens download The House in Norham Gardens, read online The House in Norham Gardens, kindle ebook The House in Norham Gardens, The House in Norham Gardens 8e07b640e47e The Carved Shield She Finds In The Attic, Brought From New Guinea Years Ago, Causes Fourteen Year Old Clare Disturbing Dreams