This is a new and freshly published edition of this culturally important work by Michael Arlen, which is now, at last, again available to you.
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Enjoy this classic work today. These selected paragraphs distill the contents and give you a quick look inside The London Venture:
Look inside the book:
For that is the whole purpose of the novel, which I never realised till this moment, that once a young man was sitting here alone and wondering why that should be and what he should do, and in the end he was sitting here again with a woman for whom his passion had died, but whose eyes still made him talk so that he could not see the slow darkening of the river, or hear the emptying of the restaurant, until at last she laughed, and he pg 016 had to stop because of the waiters who hovered round the table to relay it for the bored people who would come in from the theatres for supper.
...But for him there are aunts who live in Chester Square, and cousins who come up to stay a month or so at the Hyde Park Hotel, and uncles who live somewhere about Bruton Street, and have such a fund of risqué anecdotes that the length of Bond Street and Piccadilly will not see the end of them; and, perhaps, there are age-long friends of the family who have houses in Kensington and Hampstead, and 'nice' parquet floors on which you can dance to a gramophone; while for an Armenian, who soon realises that his nationality is considered as something of a faux pas, there are none of these things, and he is pg 018 entirely lost in the wilderness, for there is no solid background to his existence in another's country; and, as the days lengthen out and he grows tired of walking in the Green Park, he comes to wonder why his fathers ever left Hayastan; for it seems to me much better to be a murdered prince in Hayastan than a living vagabond in London.
...Men grow mentally limp with their careless way of living; and life is like walking on the Embankment at three o'clock in the morning, when London is very silent: and if you lounge along as your feet take you, your hands deep in your pockets, being 'natural,' you will see very little but the general darkness of the night pg 046 and the patch of pavement on which your eyes are glued: but if you walk upright, your mind taut and rigid as it always must be except when asleep, then you will see many things, how the river looks strange beneath the stars, the mystery of Battersea Park which might, in the darkness, be an endless forest of distantly murmuring trees, the figure of a policeman by the bridge, a light here and there in the windows of the houses in Cheyne Walk, which might mean birth or death or nothing, but is food for your mind because you are living and interested in all living things.