Half of the Human Race

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Jonathan Cape, 2011 - Domestic fiction - 349 pages
3 Reviews
London. In the sweltering hot summer of 1911, the streets ring to the cheers for a new king's coronation, and to the cries of suffragist women marching for the vote. One of them is twenty-one-year-old Connie Callaway, daughter of a middle-class Islington family fallen on hard times since the death of her father. Forced to abandon her dream of a medical career, Connie is now faced with another hard choice - to maintain lawful protest against an intransigent government or to join the glass-breaking militants in 'the greatest cause the world has ever known'. Holidaying with her family on the South Coast, Connie is introduced to Will Maitland, cricketer and rising star of his county. Despite their mutual attraction, they part on unfriendly terms, she dismayed by his innate chauvinism, he astonished by her outspokenness. Yet they are destined to meet again, their lives inextricably entangled in the fate of Will's friend and idol Andrew Tamburlain, 'The Great Tam', a former Test batsman whose legendary big hitting was once the toast of the nation. Duty plays a commanding part in the life of these two young people, whose love for one another, in a different time, might have bound them in matrimony. But Connie, fired up by the possibilities of independence, wants more than the conventional comforts of marriage; and Will, a son of his age and class, is both attracted and appalled by her quest for self-fulfilment. Buffeted and spun by choice and chance, the two remain tied together, even as the outbreak of war drives them further apart. Combining national drama and private tragedy, Half of The Human Race is a book about men and women and their difficulties in understanding each other at a turning-point in history. It is a deeply affecting story of love, sacrifice, suffrage and county cricket, projected against a vivid backdrop of England in an extraordinary age of turmoil and violence.

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User Review  - PilgrimJess - LibraryThing

A modern Jane Austen or like a cricket match, lots of hanging around with not much action, maidens and dot balls, then a flurry of action, the ring of willow as the ball races to the boundary? This ... Read full review

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User Review  - justininlondon - LibraryThing

This is one of those books that, in spite of lots of what I perceived to be writing flaws (far too much telling not showing, 'head popping' between the two main characters, even mid-paragraph), I ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Anthony Quinn, April 21, 1915 - June 3, 2001 Anthony Rudolph Oaxaca Quinn was born April 21, 1915 in Chihuahua, Mexico. Quinn and his parents crossed the border into El Paso, Texas and then continued on to California. His parents were migrant farm workers for a time before they finally settled in Los Angeles, and Quinn's father got a job working for major motion picture companies. Quinn never received a formal education and instead held various jobs. He worked as a street preacher and a musician for an evangelist, he was a boxer, studied to become a priest and an architect. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright told him to improve his speech if he planned on becoming an architect and so Quinn began taking acting lessons. At the age of 21, Quinn was cast in a Mae West play called "Clean Beds." His character was based on the actor John Barrymore and when Barrymore saw his performance, the two became fast friends, and Quinn was introduced to the world of acting. In 1936, Quinn got his first movie role, a silent part as a convict in the film "Parole." His first speaking part was as a Cheyenne warrior in Cecile B. DeMille's "Plainsmen," also in 1936. In the 30' and 40's, Quinn played many small roles, usually as some sort of ethnic character. He has played a Filipino soldier in "Back to Bataan," a Libyan guerilla in "Lion of the Dessert," a Spanish matador in "Blood and Sand," American Indians, pirates, a Basque guide in "The Passage," a Colombian bandit in "High Risk," and many Italians. He also played many historical figures such as Chief Crazy Horse in "They Died With Their Boots On" in 1941, Sheik Auda abu Tayi in Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 and Attila the Hun in "Attila" in 1954. Quinn attempted to direct a movie but it didn't turn out as well as he hoped. In the 50's and 60's, he was much sought after as an actor and made very good money, but none of his roles defined him so much as his role in "Zorba the Greek," the character he is best known for. In 1947, Quinn made his Broadway acting debut in "The Gentleman from Athens." From there he played Stanley Kowalski in the first touring company of "A Streetcar Named Desire," and then following Marlon Brando in a 1950 production of at City Center. After Quinn had achieved stardom, he came back to Broadway in 1960 to play Henry II in "Becket," opposite Laurence Olivier. In 1962 he appeared in "Tchin-Tchin" with Margaret Leighton, and in 1982, he revived hid role as Zorba in the musical and took it to Broadway. Quinn also appeared ina few live television shows such as "Danger," "Philco TV Playhouse" and "The Man and the City." In 1994 he appeared in a made for tv movie called "This Can't Be Love" with Katherine Hepburn. Before Quinn had resumed his role of Zorba though, he had already won the Academy Award for best supporting actor twice. He won in 1952 for his role as a Mexican revolutionary and brother to Emiliano Zapata in "Viva Zapata!" In 1956, he won again for his role as Paul Gauguin in "Lust for Life." Quinn was nominated for best actor for "Zorba the Greek," but lost. In 1954, a movie he appeared in called, "La Strada" won the award for best foreign film. He is also known for his artistry, having exhibited his paintings and sculptures across the globe. Anthony Quinn died on June 3, 2001 in Boston Massachusetts at the age of 86. He had appeared in over 130 movies in the course of his life.

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