In a few short pages,” writes Francine Prose in her Introduction, “May Sinclair succeeds in rendering the oppressive weight and strength. This short book charts the life of Harriett Frean, from birth to death. She is born into a well to do Victorian tradesman’s family in a London suburb. Life and Death of Harriett Frean: English literature: The literature of World War I and the interwar period: Olivier: A Life () and Life and Death of Harriett.

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Mar 23, Paul Bryant rated it really liked it Shelves: Reflective of the privileged “nothing lives” of women who had no choice or voice in a previous era, it is just as effective today, albeit for different reasons; for at that time, harritet was a still life of a woman; today, it is the most horror-laden of cautionary tales.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. In its singleminded satire of a long-buried standard, I found it totally depressing, stif As a denunciation of the Victorian-era ideal daughter, dutiful to the point of total self-negation, this probably had considerable bite in its era.

The Life and Death of Harriett Frean

What if you don’t get out enough? I loved the book the first time around, and my second encounter with it was no different. There is an excellent film feature on the suffragists called Iron Jawed Angels that you might want to see at some point depicting the women and what they had to endure. She was so dependent of her parents, her whole world consisted of them, she regarded them as lkfe people and she never wanted anything else while with them.

As a woman, she chose to let go of the man she loved to protect her best friend. A novel from that I gulped down in less than a day.


However, daeth book is also a more modernistic piece in that Harriett almost becomes insane due to the path her life takes a mundane one and questions her belief in very outdated Victorian values such as the family and ‘beautiful behaviour’.

It was easy to read but a sad tale of a narrow and repressed life, and the futility of self-sacrifice. Well written review, Rachel. I have mixed feelings about this classic from May Sinclair, primarily because it really speaks to a particular person and mentality, which differs diametrically from mine.

Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair | : Books

In the end, this is a novel about the choices we make and how we live with them when we can’t go back and change our minds. Not in the same league, but interesting nonetheless — and also interesting that she has been the topic of critical reappraisal.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Enjoyable and quick read. As a reader I felt simultaneously annoyed with Harriett for letting all the joy slip from her life and sorry for her, because her parents brought her up on such a mixture of well meaning lies and patient disappointment that meant she could never selfishly pursue her own happiness.

Harriet wants nothing more than to be like her mother and to act “good” by the standards of her daeth.

A trip to the library beckons I think! That was the kiss-me-awake kiss; it was their secret. Oh, what the hell.

Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair

Although I can appreciate the ot of society, I find it a bit much to think that Priscilla would become a wreak, and Robin would become fat and ugly for desperation of love. You may read online at UPenn. If you read this when old, you’d pray that you won’t remember. She has no examples of any women living lives that we would consider fulfilled nowadays to inspire her, and as such, how could she have dreamed of ftean better than what she has? Either the operation or the pain, going on and on, stabbing with sharper and sharper knives; cutting in deeper; all their care, the antiseptics, the restoratives, dragging it out, giving it more time to torture her.


Somehow it has to be told; somehow the world has to know that there are many Harriett Freans out there. Yes…I have seen these claims recently, saying that women are unhappy because they detah never have tried to have careers. Consequently all three parts of the triangle are made miserable. How could she act selfishly, even if the consequences would save her best friend’s life?

Her mother would look up from the sofa and ask always the same question, “Well, did anything nice happen? Notify rfean of new posts via email. Her father dies after ruining his forture and his friend’s one as well, and his perfect image in harriett’s mind is ruined.

Sinclair championed the work of the Imagist poets led by Ezra Poundand even wrote a novel in verse using the Imagist method, The Dark Night. And the other way round, lif are such individuals amongst us that can live only fulfilling parents desires and pleasing them is their only hadriett. I didn’t necessarily “really like this book”, but it did strike me and I found myself impatient to get back to it whenever I put it down, so it’s 4 stars.

Harriett was an old maid; otherwise, hers was a very harritet life The title says it all My hats off to you.