We Think the World of You (New York Review Books Classics)
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We Think the World of You combines acute social realism and dark fantasy, and was described by J.R. Ackerley as “a fairy tale for adults.” Frank, the narrator, is a middle-aged civil servant, intelligent, acerbic, self-righteous, angry. He is in love with Johnny, a young, married, working-class man with a sweetly easygoing nature. When Johnny is sent to prison for committing a petty theft, Frank gets caught up in a struggle with Johnny’s wife and parents for access to him. Their struggle finds a strange focus in Johnny’s dog—a beautiful but neglected German shepherd named Evie. And it is she, in the end, who becomes the improbable and undeniable guardian of Frank’s inner world.
concerned. Perhaps I had better try out on him as well one of those letters that might or might not get through. I sat down to it at once. The daylight hours we spent mostly in the open air. Evie saw to that. And it was borne in upon me that, without perceiving it, I had grown old and dull, I had forgotten that life itself was an adventure. She corrected this. She held the key to what I had lost, the secret of delight. It was a word I often used, but what did I know of the quality itself, I
dog once more, kicking up her legs and rolling about with the toy in her mouth; and when I offered out of curiosity, to replay the game next evening, I could not get it going; she seemed worried and confused; the inspiration, having done its work, had apparently gone out of her forever. But if I could not refix her attention upon that, her eyes seldom left my face. Throughout the evenings as we sat I was conscious always of her presence; looking up I would find her gaze upon me, and each time I
sorry I can’t take your dog, but I’ll see you don’t lose your home. And I’ll go and talk to your mother. I expect we can fix things up between us. Does she know, by the way?” “She don’t yet, but she’ll ’ave to. Megan’s going up to tell’er. What’ll she say?” “She loves you. You know that, or you ought to. And she’s not the only one. You ought to have known that too.” He pressed my hand. “Thanks, Frank. You’re the only pal I got.” I kissed him. “I’m sorry I let you down. I won’t never let you
Was it the phrase? At any rate I suddenly saw her, clear as crystal, bright as dawn, her strange eyes fixed intently upon me. “He thrashed her and never took her out!” I cried aloud. “Was that fair on the dog?” Johnny looked down at his hands, which were resting on the table. “I told ’im not to ’it ’er,” he mumbled in a low thick voice. When he raised his eyes again they were brimming with tears. “Well, he did hit her!” I said brutally. “He took off his belt to her, the swine! And although
his chewing way. “I’ve a bit of a cold in me ’ead.” Small wonder, I thought, considering the stifling atmosphere in which they lived. But I only said: “I’m sure it couldn’t be in your feet!” He was wearing a pair of bright red carpet slippers. “Are they a Christmas present?” “Ah-h, the wife give ’em me.” “We can see him coming now, can’t we?” said Millie, with one of her cackles. “Do you like them, Frank?” “Like them! I want them!” How thoughtlessly do we tempt providence! Little did I