Anna - complex, restless, troubled - is one of the most original and attractive heroines in English fiction.One of three Bennett novels reissued in Penguin Modern Classics, the others being Riceyman Steps and The Card (The Old Wives' Tale is already in print)Once one of Britain's best-loved and most famous authors, Bennett was a down-to-earth counterpart to the Bloomsbury set in the literary scene of the early twentieth century. Today a new generation of readers is rediscovering his work.Readable, funny and fascinating: a perfect novel to recommend to book groupsArnold Bennett (1867-1931) was one of the most versatile, ambitious and successful British novelists of the early 20th century. His novels and short stories both celebrate and deplore a rapidly changing Britain. Much of his greatest work is set where he grew up, in the Potteries of the West Midlands. Inspired by Zola and Maupassant, he realized that this world of brutal industrial work and rapid social change, religious severity and material temptation, was the perfect backdrop for everything from comedy to tragedy. He died of typhoid.
'Deeply moving, original, and dealing with material that I had never encountered in fiction, but only in life' Margaret Drabble
Growing up in the world of the 'five towns' of industrial England, with their furnaces and chimneys, huddled red-brown streets, prayer meetings and small-minded bigotry, Anna is dominated by her miserly and tyrannical father. When she inherits a fortune and finds love, she struggles to break free from the constraints upon her, even though she is torn between duty and her deepest feelings. Arnold's novel of parental tyranny and rebellion is a portrayal of a woman of great spirit, complexity and integrity.