The Fountain Overflows

The Fountain Overflows is a Kindle I who usually hang around with degenerates murderers religious maniacs Hitler found myself enfolded within the bosom of a shabby genteel family th

The Fountain Overflows is a Kindle I who usually hang around with degenerates (murderers, religious maniacs, Hitler) found myself enfolded within the bosom of a shabby-genteel family, the Aubreys, who were - only just - scraping by somewhere between 1900 and 1910 in south London on what the father forgot to gamble away on the stock exchange (not once but many times) and the mother’s fixed purpose that her two middle daughters will become concert pianists. The mother says things likeIt must have the strict value of a quaver, otherwise the half-bar does not repeat the pattern of the four descending notes… do you mean to say you cannot understand that though the weak beats are doubled by the left hand they must be kept weak, and the strong beats must be kept strong, though the whole thing is piano? I might as well have been teaching a chimpanzee.I have just spent a delightful week with these people.**Rebecca West :My work expresses an infatuation with human beings. I don’t believe that to understand is necessarily to pardon, but I feel that to understand makes one forget that one cannot pardon.**Our precise, deadly narrator is Rose Aubrey, one of the middle children. She is glorious. For instanceThe place was a cave of well-being, crammed with tables at which well-dressed women, with cairns of parcels piled up on chairs beside them, leaned towards each other, their always large busts overhanging plates of tiny sandwiches and glasses of port and sherry and madeira, and exchanged gossip that mounted to the low ceiling and was transformed to the twittering of birds in an aviary.When the story begins she’s about 9 or 10 I guess. The uncomical antics of their adored father have deposited the family in a “social vacuum” – they’re poor, disowned by the father’s family, they see nobody – but the mother points out that they’re not alone in that, in Edwardian England you didn’t have to do much to find yourself socially excluded.**Yes, there is tweeness. You have to be prepared to read about small girls discussing their imaginary pets in detail. That could sink the whole enterprise for some people. **This edition is 400 pages long and the print is quite tiny, so it’s more like 500 pages. But I don’t want to sound like my mother – she would appraise books purely on the typeface – “Ooooh, I couldn’t read that, ooh no, the print is so small, ooh no”**William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell :The cistern contains: the fountain overflows. The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow. **The plot of The Fountain Overflows is : stuff happens, everyone gets about six or seven years older. The story surges and ebbs and flows like a body of water. It’s comical and tragical and tragicomical by turns. Occasionally it’s outright satire.We sat still and tried to look calm, and debated in whispers whether it would be rude to ask Mr Phillips whether the car was actually on fire.**In one passage the father who’s a campaigning journalist is taking up the cause of margarine manufacturers who are being threatened with legislation in order to force them to colour their margarine with some unpleasant tinge. The butter manufacturers have persuaded parliament that their industry will be torpedoed by the cheaper margarine unless the law compels margarine to bePURPLEI was intrigued by this weirdness and discovered that there was indeed agitation along these lines from dairy producers, but it took place in the USA, not England, and in the 19th century, not the early 20th, and it didn’t get anywhere because the margarine manufacturers took to selling white margarine with packets of yellow food colouring.**This novel is about children.Now I recall my emotions at that moment, children seem to me a remarkable race. They want so much to murder so many people, and they so rarely murder anybody at all.I shook with rage so that Rosamund laid a calming hand on my arm. Almost all grown-ups were constantly rude to children, but of late they had been going too far.**This novel can be quite strange. On page 91 we have a detailed account of a plate throwing sheet-twining glass-breaking POLTERGEIST served up to us straight. That was odd.***We’re not like moss or spiders, we have been cursed with self-consciousness, so living with the background static of the beckoning grave we have to protest, it’s unfair that we go into the darkness and only get to live this one life, look through this one set of eyes, and in protest, we invent art and writing and poetry and novels so as to look through many eyes, and think more thoughts in one day that would otherwise occur to us in a lifetime. All art geysers out of the injustice of the one life we have and the many lives we wish to have, the thumbnail of years we’re granted against the millions we aren’t. Our novels are our panopticon, our camera obscura, and our zohar (that Borgesian point at which all things are observable at the same time). Self-consciousness is the disease which nearly cures itself. **It's not flawless, but it's got my five stars. The Fountain Overflows is another example of the extreme awkwardness of Edwardian writers in dealing with class – E M Forster, H G Wells and (gaucheness personified) D H Lawrence all suffer agonies and often nearly capsize their novels because they can’t strike the right tone when they’re writing about the working class. They desperately try not to patronise but their story is about people who do patronise and despise the working class. Compare Evelyn Waugh in Brideshead Revisited – his middle-class narrator wanders into an aristocratic family a whole social class above his own, but there is no problem, all is smooth as silk. The working class – also known as the poor – is disliked and feared by the middle class because- they do not have the same values- they do not aspire to the same things- they don’t look the same- they don’t have any taste- you might conclude that most of them are stupid- if they get any money they spend it on the wrong things- they’re ignorant and happy to be soIn some ways it is agreed that it’s not their fault that they’re poor but this does not make them likeable. You have to deal with them gingerly. The Aubreys have no money but they’re not The Poor, they’re still thoroughly genteel. He had asked for beer… it was certain we would have none in the house, for it was considered a vulgar drink in those days; I do not think that my father ever tasted it in his life.At one point the mother tells the children:You are not allowed to read the newspapers now. I hope you will not attach too much importance to them. They give you a picture of a common-place world that does not exist. You must always believe that life is as extraordinary as music says it is.**I guess this novel tells a universal story about how some of the dreams of childhood get smashed to bits by the cruelties of life and some are hurtled along and by some miracle make it through the rapids without loss of life. But I didn't really think about that very much. I was just glad to have spent my time with these people, with those names and those faces.. The lives of the talented Aubrey children have long been clouded by their father s genius for instability, but his new job in the London suburbs promises, for a time at least, reprieve from scandal and the threat of ruin Mrs Aubrey, a former concert pianist, struggles to keep the family afloat, but then she is something of a high strung eccentric herself, as is all too cThe lives of the talented Aubrey children have long been clouded by their father s genius for instability, but his new job in the London suburbs promises, for a time at least, reprieve from scandal and the threat of ruin Mrs Aubrey, a former concert pianist, struggles to keep the family afloat, but then she is something of a high strung eccentric herself, as is all too clear to her daughter Rose, through whose loving but sometimes cruel eyes events are seen Still, living on the edge holds the promise of the unexpected, and the Aubreys, who encounter furious poltergeists, turn up hidden masterpieces, and come to the aid of a murderess, will find that they have adventure to spare.In The Fountain Overflows, a 1957 best seller, Rebecca West transmuted her own volatile childhood into enduring art This is an unvarnished but affectionate picture of an extraordinary family, in which a remarkable stylist and powerful intelligence surveys the elusive boundaries of childhood and adulthood, freedom and dependency, the ordinary and the occult.. Good Ebook The Fountain Overflows Do you feel like you've walked into the edges when you catch someone crying? What if they want you watching them cry? The edges could melt and lines blur. The them with just them, the them with you, you with them and you with just you. Rebecca West's fountain overflowed, all right. Too many people. I guess the lines did too, like one of those chalk drawings from the film of Mary Poppins. Lines on a page from trying to get it all down and figure everyone's place to make your expected move. I had the feeling like if you were watching yourself crying and it felt awkward like watching someone else cry and you had the unsettling feeling of not knowing what the hell they wanted from you. Whatever it is, you don't want to give it to them. A kind of one sided togetherness.A family obsessed with itsself. Poverty, what's proper, compared to everyone else, all the kids have to be musical prodigies, the baby son a saint. Even their cousins Greek statues of unmovable beauty. Look back down the timeline and there's not you but a branch of a tree. Jealous of how high the others can reach.Rose is a little kid. She's got a twin sister, Mary. I didn't know this was a twin book when I picked it out, honest. They have an older sister, Cordelia, who wants more than anything to be normal and leave them for good. I didn't know this book was going to be about that. I didn't know that what happens to them, when they see themselves as their sister sees everyone else seeing them, the irredeemably weird shame, was going to spill out as a self image that could stick in their objects are closer than they appear side eye view for the rest of their lives. At least for Rose. Rose can only suspect of her twin sister, who never laughs out loud and would never tell a magician if it was her card or not. I have been them, have heard those words and have not been able to stop looking over my shoulder for that knife again. I've been left standing when everyone else has sat down again. Others laugh too hard over what's not really funny. You forget how to breathe when others are around, once you've noticed the difference.And what really hurts is the tears adding to this watery fountain thing of guilt about being like Rose. It's not this innocent position to never let it go. Watching yourself cry and hating it. And Mary? It hurts that I don't know about Mary. Rose doesn't have her "Hey, wait a second" moment and see that her sister wanting her to be "normal" (still don't know what that is) is about herself. Her mother tells her she's her favorite in the same breath as accusing her of giving her younger brother a serious illness with a childish prank. Her brother she holds off as a saint. Her twin she counts off as the same. The papa is to win. It's kind of telling to write a biography and cast yourself as the sympathetic musical ear and never play the finish. It's the anti- coming of age, or something. The voice breaks even though they castrated you. The burden to be special and live for her the piano star dreams she gave up when she settled for marriage to the throw it all away father is on Rose and Mary. Cordelia won't relinquish her violin dreams despite their cruelty. The loneliness takes over. Rose loses. Is it some thing about specialness that matters? It's what they were all secretly hoping for. The curse of their family. Is there some body connecting to dire straits and empty swimming pools for all people to go to? The audience for all the crying? This book made me sad. And lonely. And bad about feeling that way, still. I felt like the only place for it all to go to was the nearest thing that's empty... Empty feeling.All the observations of the joy on her mom's face (this reminded me of women I've known who feel they have to work in all of their relationships. Open all night, like Wal-mart). The late night cuddling from the desperate to fit in with "normal" (I can't understand anyone who knows what that is) Cordelia. I liked that she could never mark off her father as someone who liked them. The mom felt fake with all of her work and it was as if she expected the work out of them. It's interesting just not relaxed enough. Like when you go to sleep and your brain tells you stuff that you can't figure out when you're awake. There's no sleep time and you're always working. Maybe West was trying to say something about that. It was really, really sad that she never knows Mary (I just blanked on Mary's name, no kidding), apart from her own assumptions of unity. The sweet parts only made it worse. Like letting your guard down to get hurt again. The Fountain Overflows was serialized in some magazine. It shows. There are too many Aunts showing up and I got a little bored of them. Some of it was beautiful and then also the same lonely work feeling. I lost some of my "This is the best book ever!" feeling when someone murders their husband and of course this family is at the center of everything. Numbing of too many other people and their problems.I liked this description of her cousin, Rosamund and her mother:"This was not because they were lifeless but because they had an intense life which was independent of physical motion."It was always good like that even when overcrowded. Still, all the looking back over where it all went wrong doesn't get rid of the seed that you didn't belong and never will, of not being independent of them. I will not be distracted with cunning observations of how the determinedly acceptable shallow interact with each other. Or how the pedestal so-called free spirits manage to stay on for Rose when they had fallen off it long before. Dammit, it's the loneliness for always. I know I'm right despite my poor articulation skills. (Poor Cordelia sucking at the violin.) 'Fountain' actually made a nice follow up read after Bernhard's The Loser. Nothing like comparing everything to see it (yourself) all not fitting. There's a sequel. I pray, for Rose's sake, there are no pedestals and other people to know. Music for music and not for applause (like "normal", it's the water something of acceptance. A douche bag?). I never feel good at anything. I'm no good at reviewing this book. That doesn't stop me from loving on the damned violin that I also can't play (never tried). I want to know if Mary felt the same way, ever. I would not feel sad anymore if all the misery and company really felt like a family.The imaginary rabbit scene is one of my favorites ever. It's just like that, to get caught up in playing and it takes a life of its own. I also thought the ending of the two hands playing the piano suite was really freaking good. Double back, for the audience. Forget your steps to walk theirs.

  1. Cicely Isabel Fairfield, known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century She reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Sunday Telegraph, and the New Republic, and she was a correspondent for The Bookman Her major works include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon 1941 , on the history and culture of Yugoslavia A Train of Powder 1955 , her coverage of the Nuremberg trials, published originally in The New Yorker The Meaning of Treason, later The New Meaning of Treason, a study of World War II and Communist traitors The Return of the Soldier, a modernist World War I novel and the Aubrey trilogy of autobiographical novels, The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, and Cousin Rosamund Time called her indisputably the world s number one woman writer in 1947 She was made CBE in 1949, and DBE in 1959, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to British letters.

784 Reply to “The Fountain Overflows”

  1. I who usually hang around with degenerates murderers, religious maniacs, Hitler found myself enfolded within the bosom of a shabby genteel family, the Aubreys, who were only just scraping by somewhere between 1900 and 1910 in south London on what the father forgot to gamble away on the stock exchange not once but many times and the mother s fixed purpose that her two middle daughters will become concert pianists The mother says things likeIt must have the strict value of a quaver, otherwise the [...]

  2. Do you feel like you ve walked into the edges when you catch someone crying What if they want you watching them cry The edges could melt and lines blur The them with just them, the them with you, you with them and you with just you Rebecca West s fountain overflowed, all right Too many people I guess the lines did too, like one of those chalk drawings from the film of Mary Poppins Lines on a page from trying to get it all down and figure everyone s place to make your expected move I had the feel [...]

  3. The Fountain Overflows was Rebecca West s first book in twenty years and it was to have been the first volume of a trilogy that would tell the story of her century She didn t live quite long enough to complete that story, but after reading this book I am eager to read the next book and to read the final, unfinished work This is a story that draws on the authors own life, without being entirely autobiographical and it tells of growing up in a creative, musical family, from the perspective of one [...]

  4. On completion What did I think Ughhhhh This was not for me, and honestly I would not recommend this to anyone I found it childish and boring and long and drawn out It is basically a coming of age story, but it is too outdated to give to today s kids It throws in some satire on Edwardian society and tries to cover disparate topics from feminism, to the essence of music, to clairvoyance and the wisdom of kids stupidity of adults It does none of this well Except for an occasional sentence or two, I [...]

  5. il primo volume di una trilogia che racconta la storia di una famiglia e di tre sorelle Primissimo novecento quando tutto deve ancora accadere, nella storia del secolo e delle tre ragazze che poi in realt diventano quattro e la quarta un gioiello di personaggio.Quel che succede nel primo libro la storia di un infanzia collettiva, raccontata da una delle tre cinquant anni dopo le difficolt economiche, i riti domestici, le dinamiche quotidiane, la figura contraddittoria eppure mitizzata del padre, [...]

  6. The Fountain Overflows is a beautiful story about four siblings who live together with their mother in England three sisters and one brother Their father is in the picture, but he s very distraught and seldom present in the house We then follow these four siblings lives together with their mother as they grow up and become and independent This is also a story about music and talent and how that can affect your life in positive and negative ways Based on this synopsis, it is very evident that t [...]

  7. I hate reviewing books like this one It s impossible If I say everything rushing around in my head, no one will benefit If I am brief, it is like an insult both to the book itself and to my feelings about it I m just going to grit my teeth and get it over with This is a weird book Irritating and even disturbing at first, I found myself getting very tense and anxious about the family s situation, and angry with the father for his neglect I was sure I wasn t going to like the book, but by then it [...]

  8. I so enjoyed this book The way the story was told through the eyes of a child was wonderful, I loved Rose s personality I really enjoyed the way the children spoke and looking into their make believe world I remembered that I had had imaginary animals too, but had completely forgotten about them until I read this If you are a musician or love music this book will have appeal for you.

  9. This is the first book of the Saga of the Century Aubrey trilogy and I really liked it.What can I say about this book It s another little gem of the literature.This is an auto biographical novel set in early twentieth century London, is narrated by a twelve year old girl who, along with her twin sister, is a piano prodigy The girls mother eccentric in her own way and their father is a controversial journalist By the end of the book, he decides to take another turn on their lives.Its sequel is Th [...]

  10. two pages into this realized i d come across a sublimely intelligent and aware narrative voice that of a 12 yr old girl in turn of the century London and from that point on eat it up fast enough pure delight a fictionalized account of west s real family, the story follows the lives of the narrator, rose aubrey and her twin sister mary both of whom are prodigies on the piano , their older sister cordelia, who apparently stinks at the piano, but doesn t realize it much to the chagrine of the rest [...]

  11. DNF at 65%40 days with this book and my reader s enthusiasm is now officially dead I might as well even write a review a bit later because the book is not bad per se, it s just excruciatingly still and presumptuous.

  12. This is the second Rebecca West novel I ve read My first was her unfinished novel Sunflower Oddly enough, I preferred that one to this, her most famous work Though unfinished, Sunflower had a much tighter narrative, in my opinion.Here, it seems West had so much to say, it came out all in a rush anecdotes within anecdotes, text arbitrarily divided into paragraphs and chapters It felt almost manic It was frustrating, at times, because I craved something linear Nevertheless, one can t deny the eng [...]

  13. THE FOUNTAIN OVERFLOWS 1956 Rebecca West Rebecca West 1892 1983 was the pen name of Cicely Isabel Fairfield, an English writer and critic who, unfortunately, has faded from the public s awareness in recent years In her early years, she was an ardent feminist and essayist, and ran in social circles active in political issues Her most famous book was, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon 1941 , a travelogue and history of Yugoslavia I ve put off reading it for years it runs to over 1,000 pages This novel s [...]

  14. I originally read this brilliant book by Rebecca West when I was in my teens Two of her themes rang so true that they clarified the way I thought and still think First, she brought to life how much children are at the mercy of their parents The children s father is a charming, intelligent man who is also self centered, intolerant, ungrateful, and incapable of keeping a job West s own father deserted the family and her portrait of the fictional father captures the aching love and mistrust the chi [...]

  15. Her conversation consisted of comments on our circumstances too bluff and too indelicate to be called sympathetic, though if they were not that they could have no purpose, and when she could think of no she used to turn her pouches and her jowls on us children, and inquire whether we realized we must earn our livings as soon as possible, adding, And there ll have to be no nonsense about it either This phrase was surely as destitute of meaning as the baying of a dog Concordance Under The Exit Si [...]

  16. The Fountain Overflows is possibly one of Rebecca West s most famous works the first novel in a projected trilogy the third of the trilogy not quite finished when Rebecca West died The Real Night and Cousin Rosamund complete the trilogy and both these novels were published posthumously, and while I am not keen on unfinished works I do now very much want to read them both.The story is that of an Edwardian family in the years before the First World War Our narrator is Rose, one of three sisters, t [...]

  17. If you re looking for a book driven by plot, this isn t the choice for you.The Aubrey family is strange, but talented Mr Aubrey s specific talent lies in keeping the family in debt, but Mrs Aubrey and twin daughters, Mary and Rose, have a talent in music rivaled by few The youngest son, Richard Quin, doesn t care about music so much, but is beloved by all who set eyes on him The eldest daughter, Cordelia, isn t talented in music at all, looks different than the rest of the family, and is on the [...]

  18. pre wwi one scotland, london a quirky novel that can totally absorb the reader in the childish and deadly serious world of art, writing, class war, sudden death, and even poltergeists of all things rebecca west most famous novel of black lamb and grey falcon has nothing on this frightening, funny, and damn weird novel in search of an editor, oh why didn t she have an editor that reminds me much of a certain pirate ship crewed by children in this story A High Wind in Jamaica please see other much [...]

  19. Wonderful book The first of a trilogy.Utterly compelling writing.The Aubrey family live in Edwardian London.The father loves his children and makes them beautiful things but even so he struggles to keep them to the standard they are used to as he constantly speculates and leaves them in penury.It is the Mother that keeps the family together even when the Husband leaves.All is not lost though as the pictures they thought were just copies were in fact real.I loved it and can t wait to read the nex [...]

  20. esther, clare, laura 5 My copy is 1958 hardback To my sisterLETITIA FAIRFIELDThe cistern contains th fountain overflows William BlakeOpening THERE was such a long pause that I wondered whether my Mamma and my Papa were ever going to speak to one another again Not that I feared they had quarrelled, only we children had quarrels, but they had fallen into a dream Then Papa said hesitantly, You know, I am very sorry about all this, my dear.

  21. Rebecca West likes to hear herself talk That isn t necessarily bad her writing is gorgeous But in saying a lot, she sometimes repeats herself or says a lot of nothing Nothing much happened in this book it s like a peek, through the limited perspective of a very astute, eloquent child into the life of a family that continues to remain a mystery even though we spend 400 plus pages with them.Forty percent into this book, nothing continues to happen, so the plot does not pick up until almost halfwa [...]

  22. This is a lovely lovely book Set in the early 1900 s, it s an excellently and most skillfully written story of an extraordinary family that finds itself in extraordinary circumstances again and again Beautiful wondrous prose I am so enchanted I borrowed this one from the library but since they didn t have the next one, This Real Night, I hastily ordered myself a copy I regret the lag that has occurred between them but how was I to know this book would be such a pleasure I haven t read anything s [...]

  23. Well, I gave up on this book, but maybe I should give it a second chance after reading all the glowing reviews I didn t like how Cordelia was treated by the rest of the family and for the longest time, I thought she actually was probably a good violinist and that Rose and Mary were mediocre pianists but couldn t accept that Cordelia was better than they were I probably wouldn t have read the book at all had I known that Constance s home was going to be haunted by poltergeists because that s just [...]

  24. My enjoyment of this was so thorough that while it was underway, I remained convinced it was the best book I ve ever read, an impression I knew I was unlikely to sustain once it ended, but still delighted me.A jacket blurb proclaims West of great masters of the English prose sentence which is one those quintessentially dreary book jacket things to say, the kind of praise John Updike is often called on to provide for somewhat forgotten writers I don t even know how to summarize the brilliance of [...]

  25. What do you do do when your parents are brilliant but eccentric Keith Clare a brilliant pianist married to the brilliant writer Piers Aubrey, both eccentric Piers however, shows a touch of malevolence, he cares for none of his four children An inveterate gambler, leaves his family in utter poverty, although he shows touches of love and creativity during Christmas, when he constructs elaborate wooden castles for them Clare Keith, just goes through the utter misery of poverty, duns at the door, ne [...]

  26. I consider Rebecca West s brilliant, idiosyncratic, fifteen hundred page pseudo travelogue Black Lamb and Gray Falcon to be one of the great works of 20th century literature, a book of abiding genius, one which inspired me as a youth and continues to do so to the present day Despite this reverence I have never actually gotten around to reading anything else by the Dame, in part because she is not particularly well read any longer to the shame of the modern literary establishment and thus it is r [...]

  27. From the description of the story, you d expect this book to be a decent, but very ordinary, story something along the lines of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn In fact, this book is anything but one of those novels it is as whimsical and darkly humorous as a Roald Dahl story, but with themes and characters as complex as something you d find in Dostoevsky I lost a substantial amount of sleep this past week, partly because I stayed up too late to read, and partly because after reading my mind wouldn t st [...]

  28. West writes beautifully on music and I would have preferred that alone Some wonderful social history on artistic London life in the early twentieth century.But very poor pacing, at times molasses thick for me, and the same old scenes played out on a loop im thinking of Cordelia s struggles with the violin with a titbit of something wonderful every fifty pages.A family saga in which I wished to be the occasional visitor, but felt like the person who comes for a cup of tea and never gets to leave. [...]

  29. You must always believe that life is as extraordinary as music says it is Music is from which the vessel of one s soul is stirred to unimaginable heights of feeling as it is soothed by the glorious harmony of its sound, which congruence of perfection eliminates any notion that separates joy from sorrow as both are eternally conjoined in unison, linked together on a platform for a single Universal purpose a symphony of creation that represents the divine language of the gods.Music by its intrinsi [...]

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