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A Fragment of Life by Arthur Machen, Fiction, Classics, Literary, Fantasy

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All day long a fierce and heavy heat had brooded Over the City, and as Darnell neared home he saw the mist lying on all the damp lowlands, wreathed in coils about Bedford Park to the south and mounting to the West, so that the tower of Acton Church loomed out of a grey lake. He lived in the grey phantasmal world, akin to death, that has, somehow, with most of us, made good All day long a fierce and heavy heat had brooded Over the City, and as Darnell neared home he saw the mist lying on all the damp lowlands, wreathed in coils about Bedford Park to the south and mounting to the West, so that the tower of Acton Church loomed out of a grey lake. He lived in the grey phantasmal world, akin to death, that has, somehow, with most of us, made good its claim to be called life. But so went forth Darnell, strangely mistaking death for life, madness for sanity and purposeless and wandering phantoms for true beings. He was sincerely of opinion that he was a City clerk, living in Shepherd's Bush -- having forgotten the mysteries and the far-shining glories of the kingdom which was his by legitimate inheritance. . . .


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All day long a fierce and heavy heat had brooded Over the City, and as Darnell neared home he saw the mist lying on all the damp lowlands, wreathed in coils about Bedford Park to the south and mounting to the West, so that the tower of Acton Church loomed out of a grey lake. He lived in the grey phantasmal world, akin to death, that has, somehow, with most of us, made good All day long a fierce and heavy heat had brooded Over the City, and as Darnell neared home he saw the mist lying on all the damp lowlands, wreathed in coils about Bedford Park to the south and mounting to the West, so that the tower of Acton Church loomed out of a grey lake. He lived in the grey phantasmal world, akin to death, that has, somehow, with most of us, made good its claim to be called life. But so went forth Darnell, strangely mistaking death for life, madness for sanity and purposeless and wandering phantoms for true beings. He was sincerely of opinion that he was a City clerk, living in Shepherd's Bush -- having forgotten the mysteries and the far-shining glories of the kingdom which was his by legitimate inheritance. . . .

30 review for A Fragment of Life by Arthur Machen, Fiction, Classics, Literary, Fantasy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    Contains: 003 - "A Fragment of Life" 123 - "The White People"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim Smith

    Underrated and underrepresented in anthologies in favour of his novella The Terror, this is a quintessential revelatory Machen narrative. Its lack of popularity partly comes down to its existence just on the fringes of genre writing. Indeed, much of the first half is deliberately banal and frustrating, which is a risky move from any writer and one sure to put off some readers, but as it goes on this deliberately punishing and minute account of everyday quibbles subtly and tentatively pierces thr Underrated and underrepresented in anthologies in favour of his novella The Terror, this is a quintessential revelatory Machen narrative. Its lack of popularity partly comes down to its existence just on the fringes of genre writing. Indeed, much of the first half is deliberately banal and frustrating, which is a risky move from any writer and one sure to put off some readers, but as it goes on this deliberately punishing and minute account of everyday quibbles subtly and tentatively pierces through the veil as the narrative irrupts into the fantastic and unclassifiable. My own tastes run more in line with the darker 'The White People' and The Hill of Dreams, but this is a delicate, eerie and moving apotheosis of Machen's artistic creed from towards the end of his great period of writing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    El galés Arthur Machen (1863-1947) fue periodista, traductor e incluso actor, pero la fama le vino con sus escritos de corte fantástico, que son por los que siempre será recordado. Su estilo destaca por el lirismo y un anhelo por lo místico y folclórico, con ciertos tintes esotéricos. Su influencia abarca a escritores como H.P. Lovecraft y Jorge Luis Borges. ‘Un fragmento de vida’ (A Fragment of Life, 1906) tiene como protagonista al matrimonio Darnell, Edward y Mary, un matrimonio convencional y El galés Arthur Machen (1863-1947) fue periodista, traductor e incluso actor, pero la fama le vino con sus escritos de corte fantástico, que son por los que siempre será recordado. Su estilo destaca por el lirismo y un anhelo por lo místico y folclórico, con ciertos tintes esotéricos. Su influencia abarca a escritores como H.P. Lovecraft y Jorge Luis Borges. ‘Un fragmento de vida’ (A Fragment of Life, 1906) tiene como protagonista al matrimonio Darnell, Edward y Mary, un matrimonio convencional y juicioso, que toma las decisiones desde la sensatez. Su vida transcurre de forma tranquila y monótona, atrapado por un trabajo en la City insatisfactorio, ahorros, precios, compras, problemas con la servidumbre, la familia y amistades previsibles. Parece que viven a gusto, pero hay una cierta amargura y tedio en Edward, cuya vía de escape son unos sueños recurrentes sobre un lugar maravilloso de bellos jardines y paisajes. Así, la novela transcurre con un tono realista, en el que Edward le cuenta sus sueños a su esposa, entre ellos cierta experiencia que tuvo antes de casarse en la que emprendía paseos por Londres y alrededores, en los que se olvidaba del tiempo y el espacio, y que para mí es una parte brillante, memorable. Machen nos alienta a descubrir el otro lado de la monotonía diaria, a buscar más allá de lo que tenemos a simple vista. Magnífica novela, de las que hay que leer y releer.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    An elusive book written with great delicacy, part of the magnum opus Machen abandoned, despairing that he had "dreamt in fire but worked in clay". The other surviving portions of this work are the brilliant supernatural novella "The White People" - widely acknowledged as one of the greatest works of weird fiction ever penned - and the beautifully written tragic novel THE HILL OF DREAMS. This work is not truly supernatural, but a study in finding religious ecstasy in one's own environment and the An elusive book written with great delicacy, part of the magnum opus Machen abandoned, despairing that he had "dreamt in fire but worked in clay". The other surviving portions of this work are the brilliant supernatural novella "The White People" - widely acknowledged as one of the greatest works of weird fiction ever penned - and the beautifully written tragic novel THE HILL OF DREAMS. This work is not truly supernatural, but a study in finding religious ecstasy in one's own environment and the activities of daily living. In a way this makes the work the only happy portion in the trilogy of works written at this time, each depicting the fate of a person striving towards something beyond the limits of his or her vision.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shabbeer Hassan

    Another one of Machen's supernatural stories with lesser components of horror than a version of 1990 movie Ghost! Read it if you have oodles of time to kill. My Rating - 2/5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Russo

    If this is your first book of Machen's it could put you off. But if you know him and his books then this novella is a gem. I really loved the atmosphere throughout the text, a really example of Machen's best writing. Nothing much happens actually, but it doesn't really matter, I've paid attention and enjoyed other aspects. "A Fragment of Life" and "Far Off Things" are two Machenian masterpieces. Here's a sentence that has struck me, a perfect example of the atmosphere I've mentioned: «She was ha If this is your first book of Machen's it could put you off. But if you know him and his books then this novella is a gem. I really loved the atmosphere throughout the text, a really example of Machen's best writing. Nothing much happens actually, but it doesn't really matter, I've paid attention and enjoyed other aspects. "A Fragment of Life" and "Far Off Things" are two Machenian masterpieces. Here's a sentence that has struck me, a perfect example of the atmosphere I've mentioned: «She was half dreaming as she listened for the servant's footsteps, and the faint shadow of a shade of a thought came over her, and she imagined dimly, for the quick moment of a dream, another world where rapture was wine, where one wandered in a deep and happy valley, and the moon was always rising red above the trees».

  7. 5 out of 5

    LucianTaylor

    In spite the fact that it starts with almost meaningless day to day topics, you will understand the purpose of this beginning, as it turns into an incredible awakening of the soul for the Protagonist. It left me with that "American Beauty" or "Little Miss Sunshine" movie feeling but with a Machen sort of "The Matrix" signature twist. It is truly an underrated work of Machen. I've read untill now from his novels: Great God Pan, Novel of the White Powder (from Three Impostors), Novel of the Black In spite the fact that it starts with almost meaningless day to day topics, you will understand the purpose of this beginning, as it turns into an incredible awakening of the soul for the Protagonist. It left me with that "American Beauty" or "Little Miss Sunshine" movie feeling but with a Machen sort of "The Matrix" signature twist. It is truly an underrated work of Machen. I've read untill now from his novels: Great God Pan, Novel of the White Powder (from Three Impostors), Novel of the Black Seal (Three Impostors), Hill of Dreams, this one, and The Secret Glory. But as I rated lately Secret Glory, I had to re-rate this one and qualify it as my favorite novel of Machen. Got nostalgia of this Fragment of Life and will re-read it again.

  8. 4 out of 5

    BC Batcheshire

    Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but all I can say is that had this been the first book by Machen I ever read - I would not have bothered to read more. So, if you've never read any of his work, choose a different story. If you're thinking of reading Machen, skip this one. Or if you have read it, but haven't picked up any of his other work - don't judge him by this story alone, because it is singularly one of the most disappointing beginnings you could start with. Altogether banal and forcefully Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but all I can say is that had this been the first book by Machen I ever read - I would not have bothered to read more. So, if you've never read any of his work, choose a different story. If you're thinking of reading Machen, skip this one. Or if you have read it, but haven't picked up any of his other work - don't judge him by this story alone, because it is singularly one of the most disappointing beginnings you could start with. Altogether banal and forcefully anticlimactic, I definitely got the sense it had been written with greater, but ultimately unrealized, intentions... And I rate it at two stars because I can't bear the idea of giving Machen less.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Omaira

    Sería una buena novela si el desarrollo de la historia hubiese sido más extenso. En las últimas veinte páginas hay condensada tanta información, contada de una forma poética y rimbombante, con la que el lector no sabe a qué atenerse. Consigue que ese incipiente cariño que se le cobra a los personajes desaparezca, los convierte en espectros, personas totalmente desdibujadas. Y qué quieres que te diga, me ha apenado un poco. En fin, me ha gustado la idea y cómo esta escrito pero, querido Machen, da Sería una buena novela si el desarrollo de la historia hubiese sido más extenso. En las últimas veinte páginas hay condensada tanta información, contada de una forma poética y rimbombante, con la que el lector no sabe a qué atenerse. Consigue que ese incipiente cariño que se le cobra a los personajes desaparezca, los convierte en espectros, personas totalmente desdibujadas. Y qué quieres que te diga, me ha apenado un poco. En fin, me ha gustado la idea y cómo esta escrito pero, querido Machen, daba para más y no lo has sabido aprovechar.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Palwascha

    Here is a narrative that totally sucks you in but just at the moment of the big reveal leaves you hanging. I could not get over the abrupt end. It seemed as if Mr. Machen got bored writing this novel (it took him from 1895 to 1897 to complete). I can say that this is one of those novels that leaves you bereft not because of a tragedy in the story but outside of it. In this case, the incompleteness. After finishing the novel, I felt angry at Machen for many days.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    The note I wrote to myself after reading this book was: Now what is going on here? I didn't understand it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Begins in the quotidian. Ends in the exalted.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana Meloni

    Adoro i classici e adoro ancora di più la missione di molti editori – come la Hypnos, in questo caso – che si impegnano a tradurre nella nostra (meravigliosa, fatemelo dire) lingua classici della letteratura mondiale mai arrivati in Italia. Questo giro è dedicato ad Arthur Machen, scrittore gallese di storie horror e fantastiche. Nel volume Un frammento di vita/Il popolo bianco sono contenute tre storie di diverso genere e diversa lunghezza, due delle quali ispirano, appunto, il titolo della pubb Adoro i classici e adoro ancora di più la missione di molti editori – come la Hypnos, in questo caso – che si impegnano a tradurre nella nostra (meravigliosa, fatemelo dire) lingua classici della letteratura mondiale mai arrivati in Italia. Questo giro è dedicato ad Arthur Machen, scrittore gallese di storie horror e fantastiche. Nel volume Un frammento di vita/Il popolo bianco sono contenute tre storie di diverso genere e diversa lunghezza, due delle quali ispirano, appunto, il titolo della pubblicazione. Un frammento di vita Questo primo racconto è forse il più debole dell’intero libro. La lettura è rallentata da uno stile molto lento, aulico, che attutisce gli eventi che si susseguono nella storia. Attenzione, non è una critica allo stile – chi conosce Machen e ha letto altre sue opere sa bene che non ha una sintassi semplice – ma all’esposizione delle vicende. […] Il popolo bianco Con questo secondo racconto – lungo, ma più breve del primo – ci troviamo faccia a faccia col vero Machen. La lettura è abbastanza scorrevole e coinvolgente, nonostante la narrazione, in forma per la maggior parte di diario, si svolga su piani temporali differenti. […] Un doppio ritorno È il racconto più breve della raccolta, ma anche il più misterioso. Scorrevolissimo, non solo perché sintetico, riesce a far entrare perfettamente il lettore nella vicenda e salire la tensione ai giusti livelli, sino alla rivelazione finale. […] Potete leggere la recensione completa sul sito Nero Cafè. [ Articolo pubblicato il 16 aprile 2018 ]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Grady Ormsby

    The House of Souls by Arthur Machen contains four novellas: A Fragment of Life, The White People, The Great God Pan and The Inmost Light. Machen was a Welsh author and renowned mystic during the 1990’s and early 20th century. I’ll comment on the novellas separately. A Fragment of Life was written in 1899 and was first published in 1904. Edward Darnell, a suburb-dwelling clerk, and his wife are a young, newly-wedded couple unsatisfied with their banal life. They turn to spirituality for fulfillmen The House of Souls by Arthur Machen contains four novellas: A Fragment of Life, The White People, The Great God Pan and The Inmost Light. Machen was a Welsh author and renowned mystic during the 1990’s and early 20th century. I’ll comment on the novellas separately. A Fragment of Life was written in 1899 and was first published in 1904. Edward Darnell, a suburb-dwelling clerk, and his wife are a young, newly-wedded couple unsatisfied with their banal life. They turn to spirituality for fulfillment and attempt to penetrate the cloud of illusion of their so-called reality. They make an inward journey towards mysticism and an outward journey to the land of his birth, Wales. What they find in the end isn't exactly what they were looking for. Join them on their eerie, mystical and macabre ride, but leave the lights on.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Mestizo

    Read it in Spanish. Probably a bad idea. Could get the feel of the times but not of the places being described. The ending sounded rushed, with too much information, while the beginning seemed really --perhaps unnecessarily-- long. Liked certain interesting bits, though. Might take a look at the English edition.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Metta D. Evandari

    Bab 1-3 bikin bosen tapi tetap sabar menanti kapan adegan horornya muncul. Masuk bab 4 cerita mulai mistis tapi tata bahasa dan ilmu semantisnya semakin tinggi sampai akhirnya saya berpikir "Opo iki?"

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jay Rothermel

    My review A Fragment of Life By Arthur Machen http://jayrothermel.blogspot.com/2017... My review A Fragment of Life By Arthur Machen http://jayrothermel.blogspot.com/2017...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elleigh

    CONTAINS SPOILERS This book is sooo weird, it sucked me in , on the first half of it and after the main plot is laid down it pretty much just abruptly ends. There is a lot of questions. It was a book of ghost stories , and I just don't think it had any ghosts, I was waiting for them the whole time, and is the aunt really crazy or has the old uncle disposed of her somehow? Why is there such a huge subplot of the servant and her boyfriend? It all comes together In a round about way, but it's all s CONTAINS SPOILERS This book is sooo weird, it sucked me in , on the first half of it and after the main plot is laid down it pretty much just abruptly ends. There is a lot of questions. It was a book of ghost stories , and I just don't think it had any ghosts, I was waiting for them the whole time, and is the aunt really crazy or has the old uncle disposed of her somehow? Why is there such a huge subplot of the servant and her boyfriend? It all comes together In a round about way, but it's all so strange and not In a quaint way, in an annoying unsatisfying way. I JUST DON'T GET IT. And was hugely disappointed because of how the first half of the book was written. Also at the end of some of the chapters is written perhaps a paragraph of weird mumbo jumbo, it makes sence, but is widely out of context and almost seemed like it was written by someone else. Wtf. Iv read heaps of old books a lot of classics, so at first I thought it might be my own stupidity not understanding this, but once I finished I realized. It was not me, I'd be pretty interested to see what other people think.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristian

    Esta novela aparentemente semi-autobiográfica nos sitúa en la vida diaria de la joven familia Darnell, y cómo el día a día en sus vidas transcurre en un devenir entre la cotidianidad más absurda y trivial y la exploración momentánea y a veces involuntaria de dimensiones ya casi olvidadas y ahora ocultas para el hombre moderno y que en realidad constituyen la verdadera naturaleza del ser humano, regiones de las que hoy en día solamente nos es dado obtener un atisbo a través de las ensoñaciones de Esta novela aparentemente semi-autobiográfica nos sitúa en la vida diaria de la joven familia Darnell, y cómo el día a día en sus vidas transcurre en un devenir entre la cotidianidad más absurda y trivial y la exploración momentánea y a veces involuntaria de dimensiones ya casi olvidadas y ahora ocultas para el hombre moderno y que en realidad constituyen la verdadera naturaleza del ser humano, regiones de las que hoy en día solamente nos es dado obtener un atisbo a través de las ensoñaciones de los poetas y del sufrimiento. Por supuesto que no es el clásico Arthur Machen, pero es bueno tener una idea más amplia de su pensamiento metafísico influenciado por la H.O.G.D.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nieves Batista

    Está muy bien escrito pero yo no le he encontrado la gracia :(

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mats

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dion Cheney

  23. 4 out of 5

    Duvid Mdd

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ernesto

  25. 5 out of 5

    Messer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Ann

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jack Falerni

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

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