Philip Hensher is a British author known for his diverse range of novels and essays. He has written numerous books on a wide variety of themes, including family dynamics, historical events, and societal issues.
Philip Hensher Books in Order
- The Northern Clemency
- King of the Badgers
- The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting
- The Emperor Waltz
- The Friendly Ones
- The Mulberry Empire
- Penguin Book Contemp British Short Story
- Scenes from Early Life
- A Small Revolution in Germany
- The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, Volume 2: From John Buchan to Zadie Smith
Synopsis of Philip Hensher Books in Order
The Northern Clemency
“The Northern Clemency” is a sprawling family saga set in Sheffield, England, spanning from the 1970s to the 1990s. The novel follows the lives of two families, the Glovers and the Sellers, as they navigate the changing social and political landscape of the time. The narrative is rich with detail, capturing the everyday lives, relationships, and struggles of the characters against the backdrop of historical events.
The novel is a portrait of English society, exploring the complexities of class, race, and gender, as well as the impact of political and cultural shifts on individual lives. Through vivid and nuanced storytelling, Hensher delves into the personal dynamics and experiences of the characters, offering a deeply human portrayal of their joys, sorrows, and conflicts. As the story unfolds, it paints a multilayered picture of a community and a country in flux, with all its contradictions, tensions, and moments of connection.
“The Northern Clemency” is a masterful exploration of the human condition, capturing the essence of ordinary lives in an extraordinary time. Through its richly drawn characters and evocative prose, the novel offers a compelling and immersive reading experience that delves into the complexities of human relationships and the social fabric of a changing nation.
King of the Badgers
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The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting
“The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting” by Philip Hensher explores the decline of handwriting in the modern digital age. Hensher laments the loss of personal handwriting and the tradition of handwritten letters, as well as the impact of technology on the art of penmanship. He discusses how handwriting is deeply intertwined with our identity and personal expression, and how its disappearance could have a profound impact on our sense of self.
Hensher also delves into the history and psychology of handwriting, examining its cultural significance and the various forms and styles that have evolved over time. He reflects on the beauty and individuality of handwriting, and the emotional power it holds as a form of communication. The book raises questions about the value of handwriting in a world dominated by digital communication, and the potential consequences of its diminishing presence in our lives.
“The Missing Ink” encourages readers to reconsider the importance of handwriting and its relevance in the digital age. Hensher’s thoughtful exploration of this topic prompts a deeper understanding of the significance of handwriting as a unique and personal form of expression, and the impact of its gradual disappearance on our society and culture.
The Emperor Waltz
“The Emperor Waltz” by Philip Hensher is a novel that follows the lives of characters from the 18th century to the 1930s, spanning several generations and encompassing themes of music, politics, and love. The story revolves around the DeWitt family, particularly the matriarch Auntie Wilhelmina, who is a prominent opera singer. The novel delves into the complexities of relationships, both romantic and familial, as well as the impact of historical events on the characters’ lives.
The novel is rich in historical detail, taking the reader on a journey through Europe and exploring the cultural and political landscapes of the time. Through vivid descriptions and compelling storytelling, Hensher brings to life the world of opera and classical music, as well as the societal norms and values of various time periods. The intertwining narratives of the characters provide a multi-faceted view of the human experience, from the pursuit of artistic excellence to the struggles of navigating personal relationships.
Hensher’s writing is deeply evocative and immersive, offering a compelling blend of history, music, and drama. “The Emperor Waltz” is a sweeping epic that captures the essence of different eras and the enduring impact of music on the human spirit. The novel is a poignant exploration of love, art, and the resilience of the human soul in the face of adversity.
The Friendly Ones
“The Friendly Ones” by Philip Hensher is a novel that explores the lives of two families from different cultural backgrounds living in the same neighborhood in England. The book delves into themes of friendship, family, immigration, and the complexities of human relationships. As the families navigate their lives and interactions, they are forced to confront their own prejudices, fears, and desires, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of themselves and each other.
The story follows the intertwining lives of the families as they face challenges and joys, and as their relationships evolve over time. Hensher’s writing is rich and insightful, offering a nuanced portrayal of the characters and their experiences. The book provides a poignant reflection on the nature of belonging and the impact of cultural differences on individuals and communities.
“The Friendly Ones” is a thought-provoking and compelling novel that offers a powerful exploration of human connection and the ways in which people from different backgrounds can come together and form meaningful relationships. Hensher’s storytelling is both moving and enlightening, inviting readers to consider the complexities of identity, community, and empathy.
The Mulberry Empire
“The Mulberry Empire” by Philip Hensher is a historical novel set in the 1830s and is based on the events of the first Afghan war. The story revolves around the British invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent occupation and attempts at colonization. The novel follows the lives of several characters, both British and Afghan, as they navigate the complexities of war, politics, and culture clash.
The book offers a rich portrayal of the historical context, including depictions of the diverse cultures and landscapes of Afghanistan. The narrative delves into the political and strategic motives behind the British invasion and offers insight into the experiences of both the occupying British forces and the native Afghan population. Through a mix of fictional characters and historical figures, the novel sheds light on the personal and societal impact of imperialism and colonization.
Hensher’s writing is praised for its vivid descriptions and nuanced character development, offering a compelling and immersive reading experience. The novel explores themes of power, imperialism, and resistance, while also delving into personal and emotional struggles amidst the backdrop of war. Overall, “The Mulberry Empire” is a thought-provoking and meticulously researched historical novel that brings to life a significant yet often overlooked chapter in history.
Penguin Book Contemp British Short Story
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Scenes from Early Life
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A Small Revolution in Germany
“A Small Revolution in Germany” by Philip Hensher is a novel that takes place over a few months in the early 1980s, in a small German town. The story follows a group of characters, including a soldier, a singer, and a rich businessman, who are all connected in some way. The narrative explores themes of longing, desire, and the search for meaning in a world that feels increasingly fragmented and chaotic. As the characters’ lives intersect and their personal struggles come to the forefront, the novel paints a vivid portrait of a society in flux.
The novel delves into the complex dynamics of power, privilege, and resistance, as the characters navigate their relationships and confront the challenges of their time. Hensher’s writing is both lyrical and precise, capturing the nuances of human emotion and the intricacies of interpersonal connections. Through the individual experiences of the characters, the novel offers a broader commentary on the complexities of human nature and the ways in which personal and political upheaval can intertwine.
With its richly drawn characters and evocative setting, “A Small Revolution in Germany” is a thought-provoking exploration of the human experience. Hensher crafts a compelling narrative that skillfully weaves together the personal and the political, offering readers a deeply insightful examination of a pivotal moment in history.
The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, Volume 2: From John Buchan to Zadie Smith
“The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, Volume 2: From John Buchan to Zadie Smith” by Philip Hensher is a collection of British short stories spanning from the early 20th century to modern times. The anthology showcases the diversity of British short story writing, featuring works from a wide range of authors including well-known names such as Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, and J.G. Ballard, as well as lesser-known writers.
Hensher’s collection is organized chronologically, allowing readers to track the evolution of the British short story over time. The stories vary in style and subject matter, offering glimpses into different eras and perspectives. From traditional narratives to experimental forms, the anthology provides a comprehensive overview of the British short story tradition.
With an introduction by Hensher that provides context for each story and its author, “The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, Volume 2” offers a valuable resource for readers interested in British literature. The collection highlights the richness and depth of the British short story tradition, making it a must-read for anyone interested in the genre.
Who is Philip Hensher
Philip Hensher was born in South London but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Sheffield, attending Tapton School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford before pursuing a PhD at Cambridge, where he focused on 18th century painting and satire. Early in his career, he worked as a clerk in the House of Commons but was fired over the content of an interview he gave to a gay magazine. Hensher has published a number of novels and is a regular contributor, columnist, and book reviewer for various newspapers and weeklies. He has also taught creative writing at the University of Exeter since 2005.
Hensher’s literary achievements have earned him recognition as one of the 100 most influential LGBT people in Britain and as one of Granta’s twenty Best of Young British Novelists. His semi-autobiographical novel, The Northern Clemency, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and he has won awards such as the Stonewall Prize for Journalist of the Year and The Somerset Maugham Award for his novel Kitchen Venom.
Hensher’s writing has been described as having an “ironic, knowing distance from their characters” and “icily precise skewerings of pretension and hypocrisy.” He is married to Zaved Mahmood, a human rights lawyer at the United Nations. For more information about Philip Hensher, visit his author page at 4th Estate Books.
In conclusion, Philip Hensher’s books showcase a diverse range of storytelling and thematic explorations, from historical dramas and family sagas to examinations of contemporary society and the human condition. His works often carry ideological lessons about societal structures, human relationships, and the complexities of identity, challenging readers to critically engage with these issues and consider their own perspectives. With an impressive body of work that spans various genres and subjects, Hensher continues to captivate and provoke thought in readers with his literary contributions.
FAQs about author Philip Hensher
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