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About the book
  • Published: 1 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099556084
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • RRP: $19.99

A Man of Parts

A moving, funny and masterful novel about the life of H.G. Wells – writer, thinker, lover and man of genius.

‘The mind is a time machine that travels backwards in memory and forwards in prophecy, but he has done with prophecy now…’

Sequestered in his blitz-battered Regent’s Park house in 1944, the ailing Herbert George Wells, ‘H.G.’ to his family and friends, looks back on a life crowded with incident, books, and women. Has it been a success or a failure? Once he was the most famous writer in the world, 'the man who invented tomorrow'; now he feels like yesterday’s man, deserted by readers and depressed by the collapse of his utopian dreams.

He recalls his unpromising start, and early struggles to acquire an education and make a living as a teacher; his rapid rise to fame as a writer with a prophetic imagination and a comic common touch which brought him into contact with most of the important literary, intellectual, and political figures of his time; his plunge into socialist politics; his belief in free love, and energetic practice of it. Arguing with himself about his conduct, he relives his relationships with two wives and many mistresses, especially the brilliant student Amber Reeves and the gifted writer Rebecca West, both of whom bore him children, with dramatic and long-lasting consequences.

Unfolding this astonishing story, David Lodge depicts a man as contradictory as he was talented: a socialist who enjoyed his affluence, an acclaimed novelist who turned against the literary novel; a feminist womaniser, sensual yet incurably romantic, irresistible and exasperating by turns, but always vitally human.

  • Pub date: 1 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099556084
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

David Lodge

David Lodge (CBE)’s novels include Changing Places, Small World and Nice Work (shortlisted for the Booker) and, most recently, A Man of Parts. He has also written plays and screenplays, and several books of literary criticism. His works have been translated into more than thirty languages.

He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Birmingham, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Also by David Lodge

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Praise for A Man of Parts

“This is his best book in years: sprawling, funny, touching, a near-perfect fusion of story and scholarship”

Mail on Sunday

“Excellent... scrupulous and scholarly... It bounds along terrifically”


“Lodge's robust approach, his insights, energy and humour, enable him to present HG as a man not only for his own times but also for ours”

Patricia Craig, Irish Times

“Curiously engrossing. Its power is cumulative: there are no flashes of startling moments, just a slow unfolding of friendships and feuds, plots and counter plots”

Claudia FitzHerbert, Daily Telegraph

“Absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable”

Allan Massie, Scotsman

“David Lodge's novel goes straight to the heart of the story... It is pure fun”

Claire Harman, Evening Standard


Patrick Parrinder, Financial Times

“A clever kind of half-genre, somewhere between fiction and fact, very much back in vogue with British writers ...funny and powerful”


“Curiously engrossing. Its power is cumulative: there are no flashes of startling moments, just a slow unfolding of friendships and feuds, plots and counter plots”

Claudia FitzHerbert, Daily Telegraph

“The artistry is considerable... the style is clear , light and graceful (Wellsian, even); yet there is often a great deal of spade work behind the scenes... He invents entire scenes very believably”

Times Literary Review

“I read it with entire interest and enjoyment, and learned a lot about H. G. Wells”

Sam Leith, Spectator

“Lodge is to be congratulated for having filled [Wells's affairs] in with the relevant novelistic detail... It is a testimony to Lodge's powers that even a reader familiar with, frankly, the ins and outs of Wells's life will have trouble picking out the novel's imagined moments”

Daily Express

“[Lodge's] Wells is a complex, humane figure, driven by a mixture of rebellion against stultifying Victorian values, belief in a better was of shaping society and callous, hypocritical self-interest. It's an intriguing study of a time when many of the values that are bulwarks of our society were in their infancy”


“A racy...account of a life lived against the mainstream which makes one long to read Wells again”

Alan Taylor, Herald

“An interesting experiment and well suited to a subject who does have quite a bit of explaining to do”

Independent on Sunday

“A treat of a read, not least because of the wonderful, rolling ease with which Lodge writes. Or, rather, with which it reads - prose like this does not come without effort.”

Daily Mail

“Sex-charged whopper on the life and works of HG Wells”

The Word

“Colourful characters and outrageous events abound. Confident, pacy writing keeps the reader wondering what Wells will get up to next and pondering the complex relationships to which he seems addicted”

Michael Sherborne, Literary Review

“Very, very good.... So confidently are facts and flights of imaginative fancy interwoven that readers will find themselves unwilling - and unable - to distinguish between the two”

Country Life

“Consistently absorbing and enjoyable. I doubt whether a better way could have been found to bring the phenomenon that was H. G. Wells to life”

Allan Massie, Stand Point

“Biographical fiction is on an upswing, to judge by this lively novel, faithful to the facts but free to interpret feelings”


“A Man of Parts has the lovely, loquacious qualities that typify eccentric wonders such as The War of the Worlds and The History of Mr Polly. David Lodge reminds us that Wells, an imperfect man, is still a worthy witness to his own world and to those worlds that may yet to come.”

Andrew Tate, Third Way Magazine

“Lodge understands the Edwardian literary and political scene extremely well, and traces Wells's entanglements with the louche world of Fabians and free lovers with real intimacy”

Times Literary Supplement

“As protean, elusive but compelling as it's hero, David Lodge's bio-novel about HG Wells breaks all the rules but still grips the reader - like Wells himself”

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

“A wry, racy and absorbing biographical novel”

Benjamin Evans, Telegraph, Seven Magazine

“Lodge knows how to tease the inner man out from behind the historical figure, subjecting Wells to probing interviews throughout the book in which his deeper beliefs and contradictions are laid bare”

Alastair Mabbot, Herald

“This fictionalised version of HG Wells dramatises the author's life, which was full of politics, writing and women”

Daily Telegraph

“David Lodge's HG Wells was both a visionary and a chancer; as arrogant as he was insecure; with as many noble goals as base instincts; a mass of very human contradictions; as Lodge has it, a man of parts”

Sunday Express

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