Imatge de l'autor

Barry Unsworth (1930–2012)

Autor/a de Sacred Hunger

23+ obres 6,253 Membres 163 Ressenyes 23 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Barry Unsworth was born in Wingate, England on August 10, 1930. He received an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Manchester in 1951. He started out writing short stories, but soon switched to novels. His first novel, The Partnership, was published in 1966. He wrote 17 novels mostra'n més during his lifetime including Stone Virgin, Losing Nelson, The Songs of the Kings, Land of Marvels, and The Quality of Mercy. Sacred Hunger won a Booker Prize in 1992. Morality Play and Pascali's Island were both made into feature films. He died from lung cancer on June 5, 2012 at the age of 81. (Bowker Author Biography) mostra'n menys


Obres de Barry Unsworth

Sacred Hunger (1992) 1,540 exemplars
Morality Play (1995) 1,284 exemplars
Land of Marvels (2009) 442 exemplars
The Ruby in Her Navel (2006) 427 exemplars
The Songs of the Kings (2002) 400 exemplars
Losing Nelson (1999) 399 exemplars
After Hannibal (1996) 340 exemplars
Stone virgin (1985) 300 exemplars
Pascali's Island (1980) 236 exemplars
The Quality of Mercy (2011) 223 exemplars
The Rage of the Vulture (1982) 161 exemplars
The Hide (1970) 114 exemplars
Crete (2004) 107 exemplars
Sugar and Rum (1988) 85 exemplars
Mooncranker's Gift (1973) 64 exemplars
The Partnership (1992) 38 exemplars
The Big Day (1976) 30 exemplars
Classic Sea Stories (1996) 30 exemplars
The Greeks Have a Word for It (1967) 29 exemplars
The Ghost of the Rain Forest (2006) 1 exemplars
Partnership (1657) 1 exemplars
Stone virgin 1 exemplars
Mooncranker's gift 1 exemplars

Obres associades

Claudius the God (1934) — Introducció, algunes edicions4,149 exemplars
Granta 64: Russia the Wild East (1998) — Col·laborador — 161 exemplars
The Reckoning [2002 film] (2004) — Original novel — 13 exemplars
Pascali's Island [1988 film] — Original novel — 5 exemplars
Short Stories: The Thoroughly Modern Collection (2008) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars


Coneixement comú



BRITISH AUTHOR CHALLENGE JANUARY - HILL AND UNSWORTH a 75 Books Challenge for 2016 (febrer 2016)


Probably the best book I have read in a long time. Slow going throughout, but beautiful writing and compelling characters.
Lapsus16 | Hi ha 34 ressenyes més | Nov 15, 2023 |
A follow-up to "Sacred Hunger", I preferred this one. After Erasmus Kemp found the beached sailing vessel in Florida, he had the crew members sent back to England for trial of mutiny. Sullivan, the fiddler on the ship, has managed to escape prison and is heading to find the family of Billy Blair, his companion on the doomed ship. Meanwhile in London, Frederick Ashton and his sister, Jane, are abolitionists - Frederick much more than Jane.

Two trials are the result of the ship's disappearance. First, Erasmus Kemp is suing for the loss of property (the slaves aboard) which the insurance company would pay if the slaves were thrown overboard due to the fact there wasn't enough water to sustain the crew and cargo. If the slaves, however, are not considered property and are considered as human life, the crew would be guilty of murder. The cases has aroused much interest throughout the city. Does a slave become free if he is in England which prohibits slavery or is he still considered the property of his owner who brought him there.

Jane Ashton meets Erasmus through social circles and they become attracted to each other in spite of the differences in their positions on slavery.

The book is interesting, the characters believable, and the ending is perfect. Each character is required at some time to show or not show some quality of mercy.

The character of Sullivan is especially interesting as he eventually lands in coal mining country where the lives of the miners is so harsh. A young miner wins a handball contest much to the delight of the mine owner. Erasmus becomes involved in the mining industry. The plot is tightly intertwined yet very believable. Loved the book.
… (més)
maryreinert | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Oct 17, 2023 |
I slogged through this loving parts and skimming over others at the ending where the use of dialect is so heavy that it's hard to read. A once prosperous man in England turns to the slave trade as a way to dig himself out of debt. He has a ship built specifically to ship slaves from Africa, hires an experienced captain, has men recruited (captures) off the street as seamen. His son, Erasmus Kemp admires his father not realizing his financial situation. A cousin, Paris Kemp, who is older and a physician, is offered a place on the ship after being disgraced due to his heretical writings. The captain, is leery of having the nephew of the owner on the ship. Erasmus has a deep dislike for Paris due to an incident when they were much younger in which Erasmus felt Paris made a fool of him; he has carried this anger for years.

Erasmus is an interesting but completely unlikeable character. A believer that all worth is counted by prosperity, a follower of rules, a calculating young man who is unable to marry a young woman he thinks he loves due to her father's discovery of the financial shape of the family. After the father commits suicide, Erasmus develops the "sacred hunger" to restore the family name and position regardless of any moral concerns.

The novel switches between Erasmus's story and the story of the slave ship - in Africa with the purchasing of slaves by the African slave traders, and life on the sea heading for North America. As the Captain becomes more and more cruel (once hurling a seaman's pet monkey in the ocean), a mutiny apparently takes place. The actually scene of the mutiny is not told, but skips to a remote location in Florida where the slaves and the seamen are attempting to create a civilization where there is no leader, no money, no slave or slaver. Paris, having been influenced by a young noble in Africa who pays for a ride on the ship -- the belief that men will overcome all cruelty if there is equality.

Eventually Erasmus learns of the ship's sighting in Florida and comes to avenge his father's loss. The life of the group in this "community" is so difficult to read due to the heavy dialect.

It's long, filled with horror in places, and interesting in others. The ending in which Erasmus and Paris confront each other changes both and points out the motivation behind a "sacred hunger" can be so misunderstood.

A good read - too long, and the print in places tiny!
… (més)
maryreinert | Hi ha 34 ressenyes més | Sep 28, 2023 |
Homo homini lupus [Man is a wolf to man] The existence of this inclination to aggression, which we can detect in ourselves and justly assume to be present in others, is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbour…

— Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
Josh, or Josiah, is a 20-year-old lower-class youth, working “on the stalls” at an amusement arcade in what reads like Brighton. An innocent, he latches on to Mortimer, an older and seemingly wiser man with whom he works, forming an odd and sometimes queer friendship with him. When Mortimer speaks of sex and class and the revolution and the bourgeoisie, the naive Josiah—who often asks “What’s your terms?” to get Mortimer’s use of vocabulary correct—begins to take on this man’s beliefs as his own.

Simon is a forty-something-year old neurotic effete: over-educated and under-socialized. Living on the grounds of his widowed sister Audrey’s massive estate, he has acclimated to life by burrowing underground, creating what he terms his “hide.” Some of Unsworth’s most stunning descriptions in this book of landscape and distance can be found in Simon’s sections, and, admittedly, it’s unclear just how skillfully Simon has constructed his hideaway or if it’s just merely a series of bushes and fences. From here, he moves about the estate, surveilling and watching neighbors and also the social gatherings of his sister’s theatre group—distanced, remote, but judgmental: “Why should I always be on the outside of everything, appreciating my exclusion with an aesthetic ache?”

When Audrey realizes that the estate needs a gardener, Josiah answers the call, and the lower-class gardener’s presence—bringing more to the fore the same-class but servant-like Marion, Audrey’s late-husband’s cousin—begins to complicate everyone’s lives. While Simon is innocent in his voyeurism and underground burrowing, insofar as he never acts on his desires, this is then juxtaposed with Josiah’s less-educated and much more youthful innocence: the wide-eyed, believe-all-you-tell-me sort that takes words at face value, an innocence that longs to explore. Both of these get tested and pitted against one another in a theatrical and truly psychoanalytical way; indeed, while immersed in this, my first Unsworth, I read somewhere that this was an early, minor work of his. I can only imagine how his insights into human nature have grown with his subsequent books.

Much of Unsworth’s strength in this book is how slowly the creepy and evil aspects of human nature begin to become apparent—and this is even long after the first chapter, when we witness Simon observing the neighboring woman (virtually naked) do her chores in a heat wave from the security of his hide:
I do not know her name. She has brought me often, and especially on windy days when I am vouchsafed incidental revelations, to the threshold of intense pleasure, and on occasion I have been enabled, kneeling in my little corner here, with the complicity of the laburnum… to cross the threshold. I have never been nearer to her than I am now, I do not desire any closer proximity.
Lust, covert queerness, hero worship, sibling rivalry, and an ever-growing sense of the strange and the downright eerie… The Hide grows steadily just as it ping-pongs back and forth between the two men narrating, keeping a running volley of counterpoint on very different voices' commentaries on social class, generational gaps, and displaced (or repressed) desires. A true commentary on, as Unsworth puts it, “how inscrutable we human creatures are, what a mystery inheres in every follicle.”

Highly recommended for fans of interior and gradually unsettling prose.
… (més)
proustitute | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Apr 2, 2023 |



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