Complete summary of J. B. Priestley’s Angel Pavement. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Angel Pavement. Though disdained and lampooned by the literati, the author of Angel Pavement was extraordinarily successful in his day. It’s our loss if his. Buy Angel Pavement by J. B. Priestley from Amazon’s Fiction Books Store. Everyday low prices on a huge range of new releases and classic fiction.

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JB Priestley: adventures of the ‘tradesman of letters’

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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Paveemnt Page. Preview — Angel Pavement by J. Angel Pavement by J. Angel Pavement, isn’t it? That’s a dam’ queer name for a street, though I’ve known queerer names in my time. Tucked away in the City of London, lies a dingy, almost forgotten side street known as Angel Pavement.

Bu “What do they call this street? Business is slow and the staff struggle against a tide of growing competition, rising prices and recession. Into their midst descends the mysterious and charming Mr Golspie and the promise of a brighter future. Be sure, life will never be the same again for all those concerned with the firm Angel Pavement is one of the great London novels: It is also a splendidly perceptive examination of what happens to a small group of office staff when paveent destructive force of a rapacious financial predator is unleashed among them.

Priestley at his best It pave,ent just after the huge success of The Good Companions, and, though it is darker than the delightful earlier novel, it proved just as popular Great Northern Books of Ilkley have been bringing out new editions of a number of Priestley’s works, and that Angel Pavement was the choice in proved a source of pleasure to all Priestley fans Hardcoverpages. Published by Great Northern Books first published January 1st London, England United Kingdom.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Angel Pavementplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Aug 30, Keith rated it really liked it Shelves: Priestley was at his best. Angel Pavement may sound colourful and romantic as an address, but, in truth, it is a typical City side street, except that it is shorter, narrower and dingier than most.

Angel Pavement did it. I was so tickled by that name.

JB Priestley: adventures of the ‘tradesman of letters’ | Books | The Guardian

The firm, which imports veneers and inlays to sell to cabinet makers and furniture manufacturers, is struggling to cope with the consequences of poor management, declining demand and an economy hardly geared to a sudden improvement in trade. Into their world descends Golspie, the con-man with a smooth tongue and all the push and panache of the natural predator.

He has just arrived in London on a Baltic cargo ship with a display case full of veneer samples and the sole UK agency for a new product, and he is looking to persuade some gullible fool that together they are set to make a fortune. I am sure that I knew people niot too far removed from Herbert Norman Smeeth, the cashier; Harold Turgis, the railway shipping clerk; and Lilian Matfield, the secretary-typist.

Priestley is the master of the art of describing his characters with affection and a faint touch of humour, and his pqvement for dialogue came to the fore long before he became a successful dramatist. He is such fun to read —even when the subject is deadly serious. He loves his repetitive job. His days at the office were filled with important and exciting events. He had spent years making neat little columns of figures, entering ledgers and then balancing them, but this was not drudgery to him.

Priestley began this novel in Octoberaround the time when his previous novel, The Good Companions, was taking off in a big way. He was keen to ensure that this was not priestlfy light pafement romantic slice of fiction, and it is much more serious and darker than its predecessor.


He powerfully evokes the social background of the period, especially the constant fear of unemployment among people who lived from week to week and pavenent barely afford to save. Even Smeeth, who in one sense feels so content, even secure, in his work, knows how precarious his world really is.

God, I was a fool to trust that chap a yard. It pavment vintage Priestley. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. View all 6 comments. Aug 09, Auriel Roe rated it really liked it. Ponderous descriptions but I loved the detail, many wouldn’t, unused to the absurd. Good story, a con man totally messes up an odd little veneer business staffed by hopeless subordinates.

Feb 05, Evi Routoula rated it it was amazing. Oct 18, Natsnock rated it really liked it. The whole time I was reading the book, I was thinking how suitable it is for mini series.

As it turns out, there are 2 of them – one from the 50s and one from the 60s unfortunately nowhere to be found for downloading. So, if you’re hooked on British period dramas, looking not so much for good dramatic plot, but for a fine depiction of everyday life and the subtle irony of presenting the characters the British are so good at, this one might be for you – London in the 30s, but in the form of a b The whole time I was aangel the book, I was thinking how suitable it is for mini series.

So, if you’re hooked on British period dramas, looking not so much for good dramatic plot, but for a fine depiction of everyday life and the subtle irony of presenting the characters the British are so good at, this one might be for you – London in the 30s, but in the form of a book. Apr 17, J.

This has no real tricks up its sleeve, but draws the reader nonetheless. We have what amounts to a large-cast Dickens or Trollope outing, complete with competing narrative threads and class discordance. This begins much as all London novels do– in the swirl of life being lived, the just-manageable chaos driven by commerce and urbanism unbound– and somehow manages to narrow down to separate characters by the early chapters.

And great characters, in large part because of their un-remarkableness. He looked what he ought to have been, in the opinion of a few thousand hasty and foolish observers of pavementt life, and what he was not–a grey drudge. Angel Pavement and its kind, too hot and airless in summer, too raw in winter, too wet in spring, and too smoky and foggy in autumn, assisted by long hours of artificial light, by hasty breakfasts and illusory lunches, by walks in boots made of sodden cardboard and rides in germ-haunted buses, by fuss all day and worry at night, had blanched the whole man, had thinned his hair and turned it grey, wrinkled his forehead and the space at each side of his short grey moustache, put eyeglasses at one end of his nose and slightly sharpened and reddened the other end At the opening of Angel Pavement we’ve left the Great War behind, but pavemejt marks remain, ajgel great shadow has passed angell civilization.

Like a lot of between-the-wars novels, there is the sense of trying a little over-hard at inducing amnesia, getting the old peacetime gears and levers to work again, zngel a hopeful but semi-blindered populace.

Angel Pavement : J. B. Priestley :

The story takes us from Englishman’s-home-is-his-castle pomp to the familiar threadbare boarding house existence, a matter of streets or tube stops away. The milieu will be familiar to readers of Norman Collins or Patrick Hamilton.

Priestley’s basic premise is picaresque, giving the reader a few pointed glimpses at the follies and foibles of the faces on the street, via the particular faces he’s chosen. In order that she might not be overlooked in company and also to protect herself, she had developed and anvel very near to perfection a curiously disturbing manner, which conveyed a boundless suggestion of the malicious, the mocking, the sarcastic, the sardonic, the ironical.


What she actually said was harmless enough but her tone of voice, her expression, her smile, her glance, all these suggested that her words had some devilish inner oavement Not long after the structure is laid out, as the characters become more familiar, we’re treated to comedic turns in the story, where perhaps the reader is led to know more about what will happen than the people involved.

In fact, at points the Dickens set pieces and face-offs begin more and more to resemble the more latter-day style of absurdity meeting staunch postwar reserve.

Not altogether distant from the Ealing Studio films of the later decades– but all is not well. We begin by midbook to get the feeling that things may not work out for the best, as they do in the movies. No need here to summarize the proceedings; best to say that things will not go according to plan, nor will there be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover by the end.

Priestley is taking stock, somewhere before mid-century, and finding things are amiss in his remarkable world. There will be no eureka moment, or neat conclusion, but safe to say he’s on to something with that. Aug 02, Kerri Thomas rated it really liked it.

A tale of common life experience, of fantasies and fears coming true. I appreciated this book far more the second time I read it because I saw more in it. At first, I felt that Priestley was giving way too much information about his characters, but by the end of the book it had dawned on me that he was writing about fundamental lessons in life that we can all relate to and, in order to do that, he needed to give the reader a thorough look into the hearts and minds of his characters.

The focus of A tale of common life experience, of fantasies and fears coming true. It’s address is a street called Angel Pavement, hence the name of the book. The catalyst of the tale is the arrival at the firm of a man of no scruples, Mr Golspie, who intends to use the firm to make a lot of money very quickly and then get out.

Both he and his beautiful daughter are incarnations of the fantasies that two staff members, Turgis and Miss Matfield, have on a daily basis.

Turgis hungers for love and sex; Miss Matfield longs for adventure and excitement.

Well, both get their fantasies made real through the Golspies, but with devastating consequences. Smeeth, the office manager, yearns for safety and security but has always feared that he will not have it.

Again, through the actions of Golspie, his fears come true. Then there’s the principal of the firm, Mr Dersingham, who is going through the motions of being a businessman; his heart is not in it and he just muddles through his life.

When Golspie departs, he has turned Mr Dersingham’s world upside down but we are left with the idea that he will actually begin to live the life he has always wanted to.

Priestley is saying through the lives of his characters ‘be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it’, but he is also saying that out of great pain and upheaval, life can improve because we become wiser and more mature.

This is a timeless story of human experience, and Priestley does a masterful job of describing the scenes in which it is set, London in the grip of a bleak, depressing winter.

He also captures perfectly the mangled English of the working class British. This is indeed a book about life that we can all relate to. Sep 16, Estott rated it really liked it.