- Title: Zennor In Darkness
- Author: Helen Dunmore
- ISBN: 9780140173567
- Page: 460
- Format: Paperback
In her prize winning first novel, Zennor in Darkness, Helen Dun reimagines the plight of D.H Lawrence and his German wife hiding out in Cornwall during the First World War Spring, 1917, and war haunts the Cornish coastal village of Zennor ships are being sunk by U boats, strangers are treated with suspicion, and newspapers are full of spy stories Into this turmoilIn her prize winning first novel, Zennor in Darkness, Helen Dun reimagines the plight of D.H Lawrence and his German wife hiding out in Cornwall during the First World War Spring, 1917, and war haunts the Cornish coastal village of Zennor ships are being sunk by U boats, strangers are treated with suspicion, and newspapers are full of spy stories Into this turmoil come D H Lawrence and his German wife, Frieda hoping to escape the war fever that grips London They befriend Clare Coyne, a young artist struggling to console her beloved cousin, John William, who is on leave from the trenches and suffering from shell shock Yet the dark tide of gossip and innuendo means that Zennor is neither a place of recovery nor of escape Helen Dun mesmerizes you with her magical pen Daily Mail A beautiful and inspired novel John le Carr Secrets, unspoken words, lies that have the truth wrapped up in them somewhere make Dun s stories ripple with menace and suspense Sunday Times Helen Dun has published eleven novels with Penguin Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize Burning Bright A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize Talking to the Dead Your Blue Eyed Boy With Your Crooked Heart The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002 Mourning Ruby House of Orphans Counting the Stars and The Betrayal , which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010 She is also a poet, children s novelist and short story writer.
Recent Comments "Zennor In Darkness"
View from the SidelinesThe title is less mysterious than it might seem. Zennor is a tiny town near St. Ives in Cornwall where D. H. Lawrence leased a secluded cottage in 1916 and 1917. The Darkness is of course the First World War, which claimed the young men of the county, brought German U-Boats to their shores, and set the suspicious villagers against Lawrence, his strange pacifist ways, and his German wife Frieda von Richthofen (a distant cousin of the celebrated Red Baron). Also straddling t [...]
Zennor in Darkness is Helen Dunmore's first novel for adults, however she is also very prolific with children's novels. All of Dunmore's books are shockingly descriptive, and even this adjective lacks justice -- obviously she has had the gift to write so well since day one because Zennor in Darkness is truly incredible from an intimacy standpoint and is beautifully written.The novel is set in England during WWI along the coast of Cornwall. Those infamous U-boats are prevalent and us readers are [...]
We randomly pulled off the road into the little village of Zennor. It's a tiny Cornish village set just in from the sea that happens to have a tea room, a museum and a wonderful Cornish bookshop. I was even more surprised when I realized that I already had this book about Zennor at home, waiting to be read.Zennor in Darkness was immensely richer than the World War I story I thought would be within the covers. The book was a blend of what might be Cornish traits--poetry, practicality, strong pass [...]
I wanted to love this book. Set in Cornwall (a place I recently visited) during the Great War and including real life author, DH Lawrence as a character and a young Irish Catholic protagonist it should have been a book I inhaled. But I didn't. I waited for the pace to hasten and the characters to reveal their souls to me but it didn't happen. And yet, I loved reading about a place where I recently hiked and the descriptions of the coast and the sea were familiar. I liked it enough to read more o [...]
This book is beautifully written, lyrical and descriptive. I think it owes a good deal to D.H.Lawrence's work and a few sentences seemed to be straight out of "Sons and Lovers". I enjoyed the historical detail and the character portrayals as well as the exploration of gossip, rumour and misapprehension. The descriptions of the Cornish Coast are very evocative.I did find it a little ponderous and repetitive in places but look forward to reading more by this author.
I found this a compelling story although it is quite dark and depressing in parts. It really reminds you how awful WW1 really was for everyone involved and shows the effect that it had on the soldiers, their families and society in general.
The British poet, novelist and children's writer, Helen Dunmore died of cancer at the age of 64 on 5th June 2017. Sad to say, I have only now come to her work with this, her very first novel, published in 1993.Winner of the McKitterick Prize, Zennor in Darkness could best be described as a rich, intricate, intensely lyrical historical novel. Set in the spring of 1917, at a time when the controversial author, D.H. Lawrence, and his German wife, Frieda (pejoratively referred to as "Hunwife" by war [...]
Wonderful backdrop of Cornwall, UK during WWI. I wanted to do the walks and sit in the places the characters do because I know the views are simply outstanding. This author always does a wonderful job of giving the setting in her books a life of its own, just as if it was another character. Imagine St. Ives without the tourist mobs, just fishing boats, simple people in a village and rural area where everybody knows your business before you do. Or they think they do. And once set to rumour, it be [...]
Putting into words my appreciation of the poetic storytelling spell cast by Helen Dunmore in a book like this defies all the efforts such magical prose inspires. The deft switching of perspective, the deep psychological insights, the vivid flash of well-chosen detail and the unrelenting, unflinching realism make for a masterpiece of fiction. The flawless dovetailing of historical characters and events with the literary setting is every bit the equal of Pat Barker’s excellent Regeneration trilo [...]
This seems to be under the radar as a great novel, but it is. It captures perfectly a place in a particular time. The place is Zennor and the time is the First World War. The novel captures many things and Dunmore often writes as the poet she was albeit in the novel format. One thing she particular captures is the power of public mood and consciousness in times of national events like wars. This novel captures the dark side of this through the eyes of D H Lawrence, living in Zennor at the time t [...]
Lots to like in this, slightly marred by the odd structural problems. One diary extract - why? And a strange flashback close to the end that added nothing. But the social history was fascinating, and the shadow of the war omnipresent and desperately sad.
I read another of her books and absolutely loved it, so I thought I would go back to her first and work my way through all of her books but I really didn't like this one. There was no subtlety at all, it felt very contrived. I still intend to keep reading her books though as Exposure was fabulous!
Very good book. Have read several Helen Dunmore books and enjoyed this one
Loved it. I wish I could follow the Coyne-Treveals through another generation.
Slow going at first, but another first class novel. Helen's writing is often poetic and always beautiful to read.
Her first adult novel, I have previously read two and found them exceptional. This one was as beautifully written as the others.
I love Cornwall and DH Lawrence (more for what he achieved with his life and what he stands for than his novels strangely enough) but I was a little disappointed with the actual writing in this first novel of Dunmore's. Zennor in Darkness is written in the present tense which can be tricky but that's not the main problem. It was, for this reader anyway, the constant shift between points of view. Sometimes it's actually quite hard to determine who is thinking what. Towards the end of the book is [...]
This book had everything for me! I like Helen Dunmore's writing at the best of times but to have a book set in my favourite holiday destination (St Ives) and also featuring our local celebrity author (D.H. Lawrence) was a great treat. It is 1917 and the residents of St Ives are struggling to survive as the Great War drags on, food shortages are biting and German U-boats are sinking hundreds of tonnes of shipping off the Cornish coast, adding to the food shortages. Against this background, D.H. L [...]
Zennor is a small village near St Ives. It’s 1917 and the Great War is at its height. Clare Coyne has always felt like an outsider in her home town, having been raised by her outsider father after her mother’s death. She has cousins, aunts and uncles just a few streets away, and counts some of her best friends among them, but she is still very much separate from them.The story opens on the eve of her beloved cousin John William’s home leave. The way Clare looks forward to this hints that s [...]
1917: DH Lawrence and his German wife Frieda have taken refuge in Cornwall, in Zennor, surrounded by local mistrust and vilification. The sickening anxieties of the First World War cause upset and difficulty even in rural communities far from the metropolis, as more and more men from the village are called up and disppear to fight, and people feel tense and suspicious. Clare Coyne and her extended family live in Zennor too, and it is Clare's story and her short love affair with her cousin that i [...]
Having read and enjoyed several of Helen Dunmore's more recent books, I have decide to look at some of the earlier books. This is her first adult novel.I enjoyed this unusual take on life on the home-front during the First World War. It is a rather sombre tale, but I liked it for the quality of the descriptive writing.At first it seemed complicated, but as the central character of Clare Coyne is developed, the novel grew on me. The life and attitudes of those around her create a story which capt [...]
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A thoughtful and beautifully written novel about the effects of war upon people, places and society. In the Cornish coastal village of Zennor many of the local landowners and farmers have sons who are exempt from fighting, but for one proud local family the Treveal's, their John William has been in France for two years. As John William arrives home briefly on leave - before embarking on officer trianing, U boats stalk the coast, and gossip is rife at the arrival o [...]
Some of Helen Dunmore's later books are better, but this one is still good. It is set in a small Cornish community during WW1, when the locals usual suspicion of outsiders reaches a new intensity. D H Lawrence is an outsider, he has a German wife and he would really like to be left alone to write and dig his garden.It is obvious from the start that he will attract suspicion and the story unfolds in a fairly predictable way, but it is very well written and enjoyable to read, so I didn't mind the [...]
This is a very nicely written book about life in the tiny Cornish town of Zennor during WWI. It was nice but it danced around a couple of themes. It certainly is an anti-war book with many references to the lists of dead and wounded, the short return from the battlefields of John William and of Sam who has deserted. There is Clare who gives a coming of age tale and DH Lawrence who gives a small glimpse into his life - his story is a cameo, he is not revealed to the reader. Clare is the centre pi [...]
This was read so slowly because I kept it for bedside reading, and it may be it suffered from being read piecemeal in this way, but I found it didn't really grab me. Although set in an area I love, and I was really interested to read about DH Lawrence and his German wife moving to the village to escape London during WW1, I felt they were actually irrelevant to the story, and the other characters weren't very interesting to me. I also thought the plot was more predictable than I was looking for. [...]
I picked this book up at a local library sale and it sat on my shelf for two years. I finally decided to read it and now I'm kicking myself for not enjoying it earlier. I am a fan of fiction dealing with the impact of the world wars on England and I have read a fair number of books that dealt with this topic, but nowhere else have I found such a deep and profound story that describes the struggles of growing up, falling in love, and trying to exist in this period. The characters are excellent an [...]
This is an amazing first novel by Helen Dunmore. It was hard to track down a copy but I perservered because the setting is Cornwall during WWI (interesting time period) and D.H.Lawrence (an old favorite) and his wife are secondary characters. Dunmore captures the period and Lawrence's persona. Dunmore's use of different narrators flows smoothly. She convincingly portrays the sense of place and time so that the reader feels the spray of the sea on the craggy inlets and understands the war's impac [...]
Beautiful. Dark and beautiful. Describing the horrors of world war one - a machine that gobbled up boys straight out of school in their millions. It's set in Western Cornwall in 1917 and the story begins in the month of May. May in Cornwall is magical, and the story is heavily infused with the landscape, the cliffs, the sea and the nature. I was there every step of the way. Helen Dunmore's writing is lyrical and a feast for the mind, yet effortless.
I like what I've read of DH Lawrence - but knew very little about him as an author. This novel gave a pleasant introduction to a period of her personal life, set within the context of a Cornish village. It was atmospheric and believable. I cared about the characters and had a sense of the place they inhabited and the time they did so. I've yet to find a Dunmore novel I didn't like!
I'm a huge fan of Helen Dunmore so was very disappointed by this book. I started it ages ago but couldn't get into it and had many attempts at finishing it. The characters didn't engage me, the plot was uninspiring and the role of D H and Frieda Lawrence in the action seemed gratuitous. If you want to read Helen Dunmore, try "Burning Bright", a brilliantly written novel.
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