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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary

The Horse's Mouth - Joyce Cary


Description: The Horse's Mouth, the third and most celebrated volume of Joyce Cary's First Trilogy, is perhaps the finest novel ever written about an artist. Its painter hero, the charming and larcenous Gulley Jimson, has an insatiable genius for creation and a no less remarkable appetite for destruction. Is he a great artist? a has-been? or an exhausted, drunken ne'er-do-well? He is without doubt a visionary, and as he criss-crosses London in search of money and inspiration the world as seen though his eyes appears with a newly outrageous and terrible beauty.

Opening:I was walking by the Thames.

After thumping down to earth with the second in the triptych, namely To Be A Pilgrim, I was put off Cary for a long while. Now I'm back and relishing the thought that this, The Horse's Mouth, is the best of them all. Gully Jimson's father was tentatively based on abstract artist Gerald Wilde. There is a Shepperton Studio film of this book starring Alec Guinness, unfortunately the full film is not available on youtube.

If you want to get that scholarship and go to Oxford and get into the Civil Service and be a great man and have two thousand pounds a year and a nice clean wife with hot and cold and a kid with real eyes that open and close and a garage for two cars and a savings book, you'll have to work your dinner time.

Well, I thought, here's another of the Jill's in the box. But no woman really gets old inside until she's dead or takes to bridge. Scratch the grandmother and you find the grandbaby giggling behind the nursery door at nothing at all. Nothing a man would understand.

4* Herself Surprised
2* To Be A Pilgrim
4* The Horse's Mouth

4* Mister Johnson