Read Grand Days by Frank Moorhouse Online

grand-days

A contemporary romantic Australian masterpiece, Grand Days tells of the moral and sexual awakening of an idealistic young Australian woman working in the diplomatic corps in Europe in the aftermath of World War I.On a train from Paris to Geneva, Edith Campbell Berry meets Major Ambrose Westwood in the dining car, and allows him to kiss her passionately. Their early intimacA contemporary romantic Australian masterpiece, Grand Days tells of the moral and sexual awakening of an idealistic young Australian woman working in the diplomatic corps in Europe in the aftermath of World War I.On a train from Paris to Geneva, Edith Campbell Berry meets Major Ambrose Westwood in the dining car, and allows him to kiss her passionately. Their early intimacy binds them together once they reach Geneva and their posts at the newly created League of Nations. There, a heady idealism prevails over Edith and her young colleagues, and nothing seems beyond their grasp, certainly not world peace. The exuberance of the times carries over into Geneva nights: Edith is drawn into a glamorous and dangerous underworld where, coaxed by Ambrose, she becomes more and more sexually adventurous.Vivid, funny and wise, full of shocks of revelation and recognition, Grand Days is a dazzling evocation of a golden bygone era and an unerring portrait of a woman of her times - as well as a stunning novel which speaks vividly to readers today....

Title : Grand Days
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781740510370
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 678 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Grand Days Reviews

  • Bettie☯
    2018-12-02 07:24

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  • Vivien
    2018-12-08 09:12

    Book Club reading for April / May Grand Days, by Frank Moorhouse seemed to me to be a huge task and having not read any Frank Moorhouse books before I approached the task with some trepidation - 718 pages! The original book was 1st published in 1993 and this edition 2011. The main character, Edith Campbell Berry, is an is an idealistic young Australia joining the diplomatic corp in Europe following World War 1. On a train from Paris to Geneva, Edith Campbell Berry meets Major Ambrose Westwood in the dining car, and allows him to kiss her passionately. Their early intimacy binds them together once they reach Geneva and their posts at the newly created League of Nations. There, a heady idealism prevails over Edith and her young colleagues, and nothing seems beyond their grasp, certainly not world peace. The exuberance of the times carries over into Geneva nights: Edith is drawn into a glamorous and dangerous underworld where, coaxed by Ambrose, she becomes more and more sexually adventurous. At times the book highlights the amazing and dazzling aspects of a bygone era. It is logical, amusing, with detailed descriptions of personalities, places, time sequences, clothing, meals and events. Meticulous research combined with numerous shocks of revelation regarding political, world, local events combine with intimate human interactions to permeate Grand Days. Edith's journey and progress thru the ranks at the League is impressive and in the final pages her upcoming marriage to Robert Hope, the journalist, the intricate debating on birth control at different levels and across many at the League leaves me with a sense there is more to come, so maybe it is a project to read thru the trilogy in goodness of time.Quote: p464. Yes conversation and the conduct of conversation was the pivotal part of all civilised life. Conversation has ultimately to do with politics. Edith believed that the League of Nations would bring a new way of people talking to each other. Contents - 22 chapters, postscript and comprehensive historical notes and an organisational chart for the League of Nations, 1930. So many interesting details such as the Importance of the Duplicating Machine in the 1920's by the League - imagine copying 1 million pieces of paper per year and by end of the 1920's had duplicated more than 10 million sheets of paper! We think we've had a copying issue at schools in the 1990's - 20111!Frank Thomas Moorhouse was born in Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, to a father of British ethnicity and a mother who was a third-generation Australian of British convict descent. His father was an inventor of agricultural machinery and together with his wife established a factory in Nowra to manufacture machinery for the dairying industry. Moorhouse was a constant reader from an early age and decided to be a writer after reading Alice in Wonderland while bed-ridden for months from a serious accident at the age 12 -- "After experiencing the magic of this book I wanted to be the magician who made the magic".Throughout his life I found it interesting that he is reported frequently about going alone on eight-day, map-and-compass, off-trail treks into wilderness areas. He is also a gourmand. He once said that he was a member of a think tank called Wining and Dining. Both these aspects of his personality feature in Grand Days. Well I've completed Grand Days and I'm both pleased and relieved that I have! Yes I did enjoy the journey w Emily, learning more about this era, the League of Nations and marvelling with / at all the characters associated with the League's operations in Geneva.

  • Jane Messer
    2018-12-16 06:02

    I've come to this novel, the first of the trilogy long after it was first published. It's a commitment, it is a long book, but well worth the time you will spend in its world.Edith Campbell Berry is an intriguing mix of zealot, innocent, accidental vamp and serious young woman deeply committed to world peace in the years leading to the Second World War when no one had any idea that that war was going to come. Much of the novel's undercurrent is concerned with manners, rituals and diplomacy - in the bedroom, between friends, and between nations. Someone from the Guardian described the novel as being not of its time, but in a good way. Yes, it's unique and deeply interesting because of that. Moorehouse is as usual a virtuoso as a stylist. He does indeed 'reveal while veiling'.

  • Lynn
    2018-11-29 04:13

    Uggh. This book dragged. I should have given up on it each time I thought I should, but I kept reading in the hopes it may get better. It didn't. By the end the only character I even sort of liked had been sacrificed and there was nothing left to hold my interest. I finished the book, only to say I had. I will definitely not be searching out the remaining books in the trilogy.Overall, it was too long, too wandering, too vague, and had much too much sex. I had hoped there would be more on the background of the League of Nations, a subject about which I know very little (I've found that in history, if the US wasn't involved, it really gets glossed over in schools and history textbooks), but in the end it was just a whiney idealist woman coming up against a world that does not share her ideals. And in the end, like most idealist people, she had to compromise her ideals.There was nothing really to recommend this book other than the interesting cover photo. Do yourself a favor and skip it. It's not worth the time.

  • Meaghan
    2018-12-10 09:08

    A delightful surprise. Moorhouse has created a great character and evoked the spririt of the era with panache. Both Edith's strengths and faults invite the reader to consider their own development of the self. I'm sorry I didn't read this when it was first published. Will definitely read the other books in the series. I seem to have fallen into an era with my reading of late. This is the fourth book this year dealing with the period 'between the wars' and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

  • Rob Carseldine
    2018-11-24 03:15

    I love the character of Edith Campbell-Berry and Frank Moorhouse's writing. He writes characters not so much plots. It seems to me that the plot is there to support the characters. It also covers a part of history (The League of Nations era) that I had not read about previously. This is a long book and I could understand some readers finding it slow going. However, if you like great writing and strong characters this is a gem.

  • Susan
    2018-11-24 04:15

    3+ stars. I enjoyed bits of this book enormously, I was even compelled to read parts to my partner. At other times Edith could become quite irritating. I also couldn't help but read her as a metaphor for Australia emerging onto the international scene. I will be reading the other two books.

  • Linda
    2018-12-10 07:11

    It's taken me a while to get to this, but now I can't wait to finish the Edith trilogy. I have such respect for Frank Moorhouse - the writing is wonderfully lucid, the characters indelible and the background events both fascinating and little discussed today, despite their relevance to - just about everything.

  • Sophia Walter
    2018-12-01 10:11

    I really enjoyed this book. It felt like an almost hedonistic read, not just because of some of the tastefully risqué content but because it is such a fulfilling storyline with a main character I strongly related to.

  • Francene Carroll
    2018-12-04 02:10

    This is a thick book and I got through it fast, meaning that there must have been something about it that compelled me to keep reading, but I can't quite put my finger on what this was. I'm giving it 3 stars for the fact that I didn't have to force myself to read it.Before I go any further though I have to get this off my chest: Edith Campbell Berry is annoying. As a young Australian woman embarking on a new life in Geneva with the League of Nations, her story is an interesting one and Moorhouse captures her excitement, naivete and the mood of the times well. However her airy-fairy ideas about what is needed to bring about world peace combined with her preoccupation with trivial things like table settings and the endlessly fascinating subject of stationary holders, didn't allow me to develop much sympathy for her. Some of the choices she makes are just plain stupid. There's no real middle ground with this character. Despite living and breathing global politics every day she doesn't spend much time or energy contemplating the actual causes of the conflicts that lead to war, instead holding the simplistic view that negotiations can overcome all problems. Most of her energy is reserved for compulsively analysing her own thoughts, feelings and relationships. Is Moorhouse trying to convey the unrealistic approach of the League of Nations itself through her character? One of the blurbs I read before picking up the book said that Edith and her colleagues must try to keep the faith that the League can achieve something even as the clouds of war begin to gather over Europe, but there are actually very few hints about what's to come. That's probably what I found most disappointing about this book, it's lack of a serious political context. The "great" minds at the League, as portrayed in the book, can't even work out what to do when two tenders for furniture come back with identical bids. It takes Edith, with her colonial street-smarts to step up to the plate and suggest that they get them to bid again at a lower price. This contribution is described as "ingenious" and Sir Eric still speaks about it YEARS later. Really? And what's with the creepy shaving scene with Edith and Sir Eric and the unspoken bond they share afterwards which compels Edith to seek his approval for her use of birth control under the guise of fighting to have the issue of reproductive rights for women be acknowledged in the League? That's the problem with Edith, everything ends up being about her.The fact that the last section is focused on the issue of birth control seemed a bit weird. Edith's decision to accept Robert Dole's marriage proposal on their first date just reinforces that she's the "daft" one, not Ambrose. Her relationship with Ambrose is in fact the only really interesting thing about her. The scene at The Molly Club where they are attacked by right-wing thugs was the most (only?) compelling one in the book for me. Despite my misgivings about this book I will read the next one in the trilogy just to see if Edith grows up a bit and finally develops some sense.

  • Rob Walter
    2018-11-22 05:18

    This is a really wonderful book. There's a clarity and precision to the prose which I haven't seen in any other Australian novel. Too often Australian writers aim for the vernacular and use a style that tries to imitate speech. Moorhouse, on the other hand, seems to acknowledge that written fiction has its own discourse and trusts that an Australian style will emerge without having to reach for it. Consequently we get a lucid description of events and a wonderful insight into the mind of the protagonist, Edith Campbell Berry.Edith starts a job with the League of Nations and the story follows her adventures from there. This setting provides a great opportunity for reflection on big questions such as idealism vs. pragmatism, war vs. peace and other less grandiose questions which it's hard to discuss without spoiling the story. The greatest spoiler of all, of course, is that history tells us that the League of Nations was a failure and that World War II broke out not long after the events in the novel. A quick read of the wikipedia entry on the League of Nations will provide helpful background if you didn't study modern history at high school, as many of the events and characters in the story are based on real life. This history also lends a tragic poignancy to the attempts of Edith and her colleagues to put an end to war.I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone, especially book groups, who will find a multitude of material to discuss.

  • Rachael
    2018-11-28 07:10

    Could not get past page 20. Felt like each character's thoughts echoed back and forth 3 times. They weren't even interesting thoughts.

  • Maddie Barton
    2018-12-01 07:24

    a beautifully awkward and tender coming of age novel. The novel (the first and best of three) is an intricate character study of Edith Campbell Berry who is a fantastic heroine, carefully articulated by Moorhouse's unique syntax, she represents a particular period - the post WW1 optimism, as well as the strange condition of being a young Australian woman desperate to find a place and identity for herself outside of Australian shores (I would argue that this strange condition persists among many young Australian women today). By focalising his narrative through ECB, Moorhouse peels apart the lumbering beast that was the League of Nations. This can feel laborious at times, especially when one considers that the reader will know of the LoN's inevitable demise. In no other novel depicting the period (that I have read, at any rate) has the LoN felt so alive and fragile. Even those who have little knowledge of the period should be able to grasp all the complexities and nuances provided by Moorhouse. I've completed the trilogy, and while I enjoyed it and found the narrative satisfactory to a point, Grand Days remains my favourite of the three. If you can't bring yourself to commit to the trilogy, I feel Grand Days would stand one its own as an exemplary work.

  • Margaret Small
    2018-12-03 02:29

    Even though Annabel Crabbe, who I admire greatly, apparently likes the central character, Edith Campbell Berry, I don't much, although she's given me a lot to think about. At the beginning of the book Edith, who is on her way to Switzerland to join the League of Nations seems to be trying to live her life by Rules. Thankfully she throws them off fairly quickly. She starts an affair with the very first man she meets, and that turns out badly, mainly for him. Encouraged by her friends, she engages in some very risky behaviour, both physically risky and to her career - one early escapade would have merited immediate dismissal if she had been found out. And that would have been devastating, as she is passionately devoted to the League. As time goes on she seeks the advice of more mature mentors and starts to develop better political skills. Our knowledge that the League is doomed to failure points up her naivety, although towards the end she seems to be coming to an understanding that perhaps it won't be able to cure all of the worlds ills. So as a study of a young woman, at a time when women rarely had careers, especially ones at the other end of the earth, it's interesting and well developed. But I still don't like her.

  • Mary-lou
    2018-11-17 06:11

    I wanted to read this book because it is a favourite of the political journalist Annabel Crab and I am a fan of her so even though this is an historical fiction novel I decided to give it a go. It was fantastic and just like Annabel Crab I too would like to be tha main protagonist, Edith Campbell Berry. I loved the fact that this was an historical novel that had some historical 'facts' at the end and a list of the characters and who was REAL and who was imaginary. Well done Frank Moorhouse! Whenever I read any novel I am always aware of the author behind the story, maybe because I am an artist and realise how much of myself is in everything I create, and I was often aware of Moorhouse but not in a distracting way, more like we were both voyeurs. There were only one or two times that I thought Edith acted in a way that I think would not be how generally women would act but just because I am a woman I don't think I would really know any more than Moorhouse would in this regard. ( I am already starting to overanalyse the way Edith would!)I am fascinated now about the League of Nations. I knew nothing about it before and now I just think what a wonderful time. What a wonderful world. I will definitely read the next two books in the series.

  • Graham
    2018-12-08 05:24

    I couldn't finish this book. While I very much like the writing style and introspective detail, I just couldn't continue to read about Edith Campbell Berry's frequent bouts of complete stupidity. Why on earth she would give her business card to a crackpot like "Captain Strongbow" who bails her up at a street cafe is completely beyond me. Why on earth she would accept his gift of a revolver is similarly beyond me. Much is made of her long experience with organisations ("I've been taking meeting minutes since I was 13") and professionalism, but then she for no apparent reason gives her business card to the abovementioned crackpot, thereby implying a business relationship and a League of Nations officer's level of acceptance of the crackpot's aims....no, this is just too seriously silly and reeks of deus ex machina. I couldn't continue, I had to cut her adrift and leave her to her fate.

  • MFC
    2018-12-06 04:05

    Enjoyed this - but definitely a 'holiday' read with 700 pages. I loved learning about the League of Nations, the politics of it all and buracracy the same as anywhere. Edith is delightful - especially the opening chapter where she has her personal rules of conversation and etiquette which she designed for herself in her passage to Europe via ship. Interesting as an Australian University educated woman in that era - and the social scene (although quite spiced up by Moorhouse). I keep imagining her as physically and wittingly resembling the Phryne Fisher character in the current Australian TV series of Miss Fisher's murder mysteries.Its part one of a trilogy - this one written in about 1993 - and the last one only last year -- but I need a break with something lighter before venturing on.....

  • Chris Walker
    2018-12-05 08:30

    Against the backdrop of the history of the League of Nations and littered with real persons from those times I found this book quite interesting in capturing the sentiments and atmosphere of those days. However, the heroine Edith can be quite irritating and her acts of heroism I felt were a little contrived. I was fearful for Ambrose and his predilections in those rising fascist times in which the book is set but it is Edith who turns out to be abused for embracing alternative practises and who seems to more or less lightly shrug it off (rather unrealistically I thought). The Dutch Cap features towards the end of the book, as it did in Mary McCarthy's The Group. Such a breakthrough technology in freeing up women's lives and beliefs about themselves and what they could achieve in the world.

  • Mandy
    2018-11-18 07:29

    I think it is actually worth 3 1/2 stars. The history of the League of Nations is fascinating, however, Moorhouse is a wonderful writer but I do think he was far too long-winded at times (a la Rushdie), especially with his vast descriptions of Edith's rules for living. I think it was because of his verbosity that I have probably unfairly judged Edith at pompous,rigid and "holier than thou" despite the sexuality. I also think Moorhouse would like his readers to see Edith as an adventurous, independent woman far before her time and, thank God, that was starting to come through by end of the book. I did enjoy Grand Days and am looking to reading the next one in the trilogy. I am expecting Edith and Robert to call their firstborn girl, Germaine!

  • Calzean
    2018-11-19 07:13

    Very enjoyable - long but easy to read.Edith Berry is a mid 20 year old Australian woman who comes to work at the League of Nations. She is a firm believer of the League but being naive finds her initial days a series of embarrassments. She soon finds herself and is recognised as someone who gets things done.She also discovers her sexuality and for a book that has the workings of the League's secretariat, it has an interesting mix of the exotic and the mundane.An interesting look at the League of Nations, how it struggled to find acceptance and how small it was with most people knowing each other.

  • Kate
    2018-12-12 02:08

    Interesting and thought provoking - this first book in the Edith Trilogy, follows Edith, a young Australian, to her first posting with the League of Nations in Geneva. I haven't read any Moorhouse and found his style very interesting - mainly character based (rather than plot driven) and he manages to capture the feel of the 1920's very well. a great one to get your teeth into over the christmas break!

  • Patrick Lenton
    2018-11-24 06:05

    'Grand Days' is one of my favourite books in the world. The protagonist, Edith is this wonderful character and I found myself able to live inside her head quite comfortably. The fact that it's all set around the creation of The League of Nations is fascinating in itself, and the touches of authenticity that Moorhouse provides - jargon, drinks popular at the time, social mores, all help flesh out the feeling of a momentous time and place in history.

  • KateFromAllGoodBookStore
    2018-12-18 09:20

    Interesting and thought provoking - this first book in the Edith Trilogy, follows Edith, a young Australian, to her first posting with the League of Nations in Geneva. I haven't read any Moorhouse and found his style very interesting - mainly character based (rather than plot driven) and he manages to capture the feel of the 1920's very well. a great one to get your teeth into over the christmas break!

  • Kim Elith
    2018-12-17 10:15

    This is an interesting and intriguing book - I didn't know anything about the era to the League beyond a few key dates learnt in Modern History - Edith Berry is an endearing protagonist - it's a coming of age story for both her and the rapidly changing world. Loved the parallels between her public and personal worlds. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

  • Martha Skelley
    2018-12-18 04:31

    What a read, eh? I picked this book up while traveling in Australia and greatly enjoyed most of it. A reader must enjoy political policy jargon and a long read. Towards the end my patience started to run thin, but Moorehouse redeemed himself with the last 80 pages or so. I now look forward to reading the rest of the books in the trilogy.

  • Hannah Ianniello
    2018-12-17 03:32

    I really enjoyed this classic -a book I've had on my shelf for years- though, in some ways it's hard to say exactly why. It's charming, sexy, and surprising, and every time I read the phrase "Ye gods!" I nearly laughed aloud. I'm sad it's ended, even though it took me three months and the administrative accounts were a little bit too close to home...

  • SarahJT
    2018-11-17 10:27

    Fascinating portrayal of the early days of the world's attempts to end war with the League of Nations, seen throught the journey of Edith Campbell Berry. Edith's personal journey is complex and exotic, set against the back drop of high ideals, loyalty and a deeper understanding of the complexities of diplomacy. It's exquisite. But long. Very long.

  • Christine
    2018-11-30 07:26

    A most enjoyable book. Although there were some sections (not too many) that were a bit slow, I really came to love Edith Campbell Berry, and really want to know how she got on after the book finished.

  • Marcia Di iulio
    2018-11-29 02:05

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book, albeit a bit longwinded and rambly at times. Loved the characters and their lives tied in with historical fact. Looking forward to Dark Palace.

  • scarlettraces
    2018-12-12 06:12

    (4.5)