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The Girl in a Swing

por Richard Adams

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7531321,883 (3.56)14
Alan Desland, who feels himself to be an ordinary and unremarkable man, falls passionately in love with the beautiful but mysterious German stenographer, Karin, who is sent to assist him during a business trip to Denmark. To his astounded joy, she returns his love - but their courtship and marriage will shake his life to its very foundations and test him to the limits of sanity.… (mais)
  1. 00
    There Are Doors por Gene Wolfe (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: These are two drastically different books, and yet oddly they share so many little details.
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What a haunting book. Richard Adams has a supreme gift of language that raises everything he does to the level of the best Greek tragedies.

I read a battered paperback copy of this several years ago in a single weekend, each dip into it longer than the one before, until it became impossible for me to set it down - I had to follow it through to the end.

'The Girl in a Swing' does not reach a place in my head and heart like 'Watership Down', but it proves to me the universality of Adams' gift, that he can play with any genre, any character, and create something beautiful and memorable. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
What an utter load of drek. The ominous foreboding at the begining lead only to a bizarre ending with way too much hinted at in strangely overblown language but nothing even remotely revealed. I read this for bookclub so I'll be curious to hear other's impressions but I just found it irritating.
  amyem58 | Dec 17, 2017 |
By the title you’d think this was written recently what with Girl this and the Girl that in just about every book title these days. Nope, it came out in 1980 and is one of those books that makes you wonder if you missed something along the way. So much is left up to the reader to decipher and interpret that I actually questioned my reading comprehension at the end. Never fear, it’s deliberate. Nothing is said plainly, plenty is hinted at. Obliquely. And before you decide that it’s authorial laziness I’m here to disagree. I’ve read Watership Down a couple of times and judging by that more famous work I know that Adams can convey nebulous ideas and render unusual scenes in great detail.

That said it’s an interesting book and in many ways very English. The landscape and towns, the habits and tea, the attitudes and obsession with the forbidden. It’s very, very sensual. I’d even go so far as to say erotic in spots. The way the women tut-tut over sex on the beach makes me stand up for Kathe in a way I didn’t through most of the story. If those women only knew the desire and fulfillment that she knew, but they couldn’t. Couldn’t even approach it on their most hedonistic day.

Any reader worth her salt will be suspicious of Kathe immediately. She inserts herself into Alan’s life swiftly and surely. He’s so damn helpless that it’s no wonder (can’t cook, can’t type, can barely use a phone) and sex is such an unknown so when she introduces him to it, he falls into it headlong, losing himself, reason and caution. She brings evasion to an art form, dodging questions and changing the subject. But over time her actions and reactions speak of a past full of upheaval and death. She is fascinated by religion, afraid of children and the dark. She’s too much a product of wish-fulfillment to be believable; she’s a sex machine, has to be cared for and coddled thus making Adam feel more alpha-male, wants to learn at the feet of her man, etc. The capper for unbelievably is when Adams has her say to Alan “And then you came round the corner like a sort of human goat and just raped me - it was sheer heaven, even by our standards…”). Um, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

It’s a very dream-like novel even with gaffes like that. A reader who needs concrete information and everything spelled out for them won’t like this. You have to have imagination and intuition. Alan himself is baffled much of the time so he’s no help, you’ll have to figure it out and go with your instinct. Some say there’s too much information about ceramics and porcelain, but I didn’t find it so. ( )
3 vote Bookmarque | Sep 1, 2015 |
Strange London Novel - mystical?

A shy young man meets a beautiful woman in the company of a young girl. He finds himself swept off of his feet and married to her, bringing her with him to live in his family home. She is his erotic dream come true; she does everything she can to bind him to her and join him in his comfortable life.

Soon, however, odd things begin to happen. Things in the house are strangely damp with what looks like seawater, bodies appear under the water that aren't really there. It all winds up to a horrifying conclusion.
1 vote | christinejoseph | Aug 26, 2015 |
Not sure what to make of this story. The first part of the book is slow going and detail of ceramics was too esoteric. Once the main character, Alan Desland goes to Copenhagen on business, the pace picks up. Here he meets a mysterious young woman, Karen, with whom he becomes obsessed. In less than a week he's asked her to marry him, she's agreed, and everything is hunky dory- or so it seems on the surface. This is where the plot becomes far fetched - amid far too much feverish coupling it becomes apparent that all is not right with Karin. All slides down hill and the climax, when it comes, is wildly OTT. The reader is eventually let into the secret that Karin has been hiding all along and that leads to her downfall. Unfortunately it's very hard to believe that anyone would have done what she supposedly did to marry a very boring ceramics dealer from Newbury in Berkshire who she'd known for less than a week... I'm afraid the mix of Kali, ghosts, sex, ceramics and middle-class home shires in England did not make for a ripping yarn ( )
1 vote sianpr | Jul 5, 2015 |
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Richard Adamsautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Smith, MaireArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do.

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide.
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside -

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown -
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
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To Rosamond, with love
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All day it has been windy - strange weather for late July - the wind swirling through the hedges like an invisible floodtide among seaweed; tugging, compelling them in its own direction, dragging them one way until the patches of elder and privet sagged outward from the tougher stretches of blackthorn on either side.
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Alan Desland, who feels himself to be an ordinary and unremarkable man, falls passionately in love with the beautiful but mysterious German stenographer, Karin, who is sent to assist him during a business trip to Denmark. To his astounded joy, she returns his love - but their courtship and marriage will shake his life to its very foundations and test him to the limits of sanity.

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