Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Man of Parts

Last night I finished “A Man of Parts”. Now, this morning, I'm feeling quite bereft, for, having had HG Wells as a vicarious companion over the last three weeks, how could I not be?

Over his long life HG Wells wrote over 100 books and had over 100 lovers. A considerable achievement, for, if you are of the sort who can write 100 books over your lifetime, you won't normally be of the sort who can also have 100 lovers over your lifetime. And vice versa.

HG Wells's 100 or so books were of all genres – science fiction, romances, history, politics, religion, speculation, you name it. He predicted the atomic bomb decades before it happened, and predicted an encyclopedia much like Wikipedia decades before Wikipedia happened. There was nothing HG Wells wasn't interested in, and nothing he couldn't write and talk interestingly about. The only later equivalent I can think of is Isaac Asimov.

HG Wells having had 100 - and probably more, many more – lovers, is all the more remarkable when you consider he was only five foot five, was fattish, and had a high chirping voice. But then, Wells - born more than 140 years ago - may simply have lived in a time when young women went for men who looked and sounded like Wells, and were otherwise of his ilk.

Wells can count himself lucky he lived when he did. Today he would likely have lived womanless, since your young woman of today goes only for a man who has a washboard stomach, who is much, much taller than five foot five, has a thrilling gravelly voice, and spends as much time working out as Wells did reading and writing.

Amazingly, it was young women who pursued Wells, rather than he pursuing them. Two of the most notable were Amber Reeves and Rebecca West, each of whom bore a child by Wells. Equally amazingly, Wells's second wife, Jane - to whom he was married for nearly three decades until her death – knew about his many lovers, even entertaining them as guests in her home.

Were wives today as wise to the ways of men, and as tolerant of them as was Jane, many lawyers would have to find other work. 

I found “A Man of Parts” a wonderful read. Now, as I said earlier, I'm feeling quite bereft. I shall have to begin on the next novel in my list. Here it is, Hilary Mantel's “An Experiment in Love”. Ta ta now.........


  1. 100+? What a loser! Mick Jagger's had 4000...AND David Bowie! And he's not dead yet.

    I like the Dream of the Drowned Submariner. A lot. So much that I'm making Mark Knopfler playlist for my dad.

  2. Yes but Mick Jagger and David Bowie look like they would have washboard stomachs.

    I'm sure your father, if he's not yet listened to any of Mark Knopfler's post Dire Strait stuff, will like him a lot.

    Now, I think I'm in the mood for *Sailing to Philadelphia*..........