We Think the World of You

We Think the World of You

2.5 2
by J. Ackerley
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book is both breezy and sad. Ackerley’s books are candid confessions of a good friend, full of small, hilarious surprises.”
—Peter Terzian, Out

“The wife gets to visit the jail. The mother gets to adopt one of the children. The stepfather gets to beat the dog. Is there nothing for the middle-aged gay lover? At first Ackerley’s novel seems to be a comedy about in-laws, and Frank’s indignation to be his only and inadequate weapon against a family that knows and doesn’t know who he is, however willing they are to take his money. But then Frank notices a member of the family as generous and jealous as he is, and as beautiful and as vital as his imprisoned lover. He turns all his malice to the project of freeing the dog, but what he achieves turns out to be darker and stranger than liberation.”
—Caleb Crain

“The writer of this book belongs to that rare and interesting group of writers who contrive, without ever intending to do so, to make an art of their silences. What he does produce is like nothing that has ben written before or since.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“A hugely funny book.” —The Glasgow Herald

“A beautifully and superbly executed novel. . . .Each page seems to glow with what is written between the lines as well as with what is written on them. What a book this is!” —New Statesman

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590173954
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
03/08/2011
Series:
New York Review Books Classics Series
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
1,193,762
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.52(d)

Meet the Author

J.R. Ackerley (1896–1967) was for many years the literary editor of the BBC magazine The Listener. His works include three memoirs, Hindoo Holiday, My Dog Tulip, and My Father and Myself, and a novel, We Think the World of You (all available as New York Review Books).

P.N. Furbank is the author of nine books, including biographies of Samuel Butler, Italo Svevo, and E.M. Forster.

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We Think the World of You 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly find the other reviewer's disgust and boredom incomprehensible. The characters in this novel, including the narrator Frank and the dog Evie, are complex, fallible creatures. I prefer people, and literary characters, like that.  It is a somewhat disturbing story: Frank's unrequited passion for Johnny is displaced (ultimately erased) by his growing love for Johnny's dog. Frank mocks the working class characters for their funny East End accents, and he abhors the neglect and casual cruelty to which they subject Evie, but they in turn manipulate him into giving them money. It seems they use the hackneyed expression 'we think the world of you' to occlude and excuse every kind of oblivious meanness.  In the end, though, Frank realises - with Evie's help - that Johnny, Millie (a marvellous comic character) and Tom are enmeshed in a set of heterosexual and class relations quite alien to him as a cultured, middle class gay man, and that 'thinking the world of' people is their way of negotiating that complexity.  At the same time, it's a beautiful evocation of love between a man and a dog, including all the tribulations to which it brings him. So, far from being miserable or boring, it's comic, perceptive and charming, veering towards dark acknowledgement, in the end, of the costs of passionate love. 
rodeck More than 1 year ago
Not a single character I liked; not even the damn dog. Question: with a million homeless dogs, why do you have to fall in love with somebody else's? Soup can of advice: If you live in a little studio apartment with a mean cousin, don't get an aggressive German Shepherd. I made the stupid mistake of thinking the end would justify the miserable story, based on raves of "Masterpiece." Then threw the book in disgust. User's guide: This is more about unrequited Platonic love of an old queen for a young, undeserving hustler, who has a wife and four kids no less. Putridly weak narrator.