Loving

Loving is set in the vast hereditary house of the Tennants, an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family, but the story mainly involves their servants. The war has led to a scarcity of experienced staff, and when Eldon the butler dies, Raunce the head footman is assigned his job. The other servants are taken aback by this irregular promotion, but lovely young Edith, a recent hire, is quite attracted to the older Raunce and a flirtation begins. And it is Edith who discovers Mrs. Tennant’s daughter-in-law, whose husband is fighting at the front, in bed with a neighbor one morning, scandalizing the whole household.

When the Tennants depart for England, Raunce is left in charge of the house and struggles to control its disputatious inhabitants as well as to secure the love of Edith, especially after a precious family jewel disappears. In Loving, Henry Green explores the deeply precarious nature of ordinary life against the background of the larger world at war.

This new edition…is cause for celebration…[Green] wriggles free of categories, the true strangeness of his prose not always evident until we slow down to see it has been hiding in plain sight.

Dorian Stuber, Numero Cinq