Review: Il Duro by D.H. Lawrence

“But I ran up the broken stairway, and came out suddenly, as if by a miracle, clean on the platform of my San Tommaso, in the tremendous sunshine.”

Four personal, sun-drenched sketches of Lawrence’s experiences in Italy.

I must admit it before I begin- I have a deep loathing of D.H. Lawrence and would happily tell him exactly what I think of him if I ever had the misfortune of meeting him. He was an awful excuse for a human being and some of what he did was totally unforgivable. I’ve read quotes by the man that make me want to leap through time a10833330nd kick him in the nuts. Can you tell I don’t like him yet?

Well, I decided to grab this wee Black Penguin to give myself a bit of a Lawrencian education. Kirsty at The Literary Sisters recently read The Rainbow and loved it, much to both of our distress. I thought this would be a good way of helping me to separate the art from artist and ease my way into some of his longer works. I think it’s worked, as the writing in the first short story has made me understand why Kirsty found The Rainbow so good.

Unfortunately, I think Penguin made a few errors with the choices in this collection. While the first short story was very good, really capturing the Italian way of life, the region and the summer, to the point that I almost felt like I was there, the other stories flip flopped wildly between decent and mediocre. The final story wasn’t even a story; I’m not even totally sure what it was meant to be. It was a half arsed discussion about the Etruscans, which would have been fine except for the pointlessness of it, its being out of place and the whiff of misogyny lingering over it.

I was waiting for the misogyny to rear its ugly head, and Lawrence didn’t disappoint me. Luckily for this collection, it was a mild form, in comparison to his other works. Really, he just sounded very full of himself and obviously felt superior to the dark skinned Italians- he makes a point of mentioning their skin colour multiple times. He also has very little interest in what the women were doing- all their characters were very two dimensional or were somehow revolting to him.

I’m going to give this a 2.5 star rating, because 3 stars is too much but the writing of the first story warrants more than a 2 star. I think Penguin could have made better choices in the selection of the stories, as it is obvious that Lawrence was a very good writer. This doesn’t showcase his obvious ability to it’s fullest.

2.5/5 Stars

Also, I’m reviewing a fair few of these Black Classics because they’re nice and easy to get through and are introducing me to authors I’ve been cautious about investing time in earlier. I’m super busy with university, so unfortunately don’t have much time to be reading things that I think would be bloggable. If anyone is my friend on Goodreads and wants me to do a review of something you’ve seen me reading on there, let me know and I’ll do it =) Thanks for your patience and understanding, my darlings!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Il Duro by D.H. Lawrence

  1. Pingback: June in Review | bookarahma

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