Viking, 2011; 436 pages
H. G. Wells, author of The Time Machine and War of the Worlds, was one of the twentieth century's most prophetic and creative writers, a man who moved in the most important literary, intellectual, and political circles of his time. In his new novel, David Lodge has taken the compelling true story of Wells's life and transformed it into a witty and deeply moving narrative about a fascinating yet flawed man.
As the second war he has lived through moves into its final phase, the ailing Herbert George Wells looks back on a life crowded with incident, books and women....Once he was probably the most famous writer in the world, "the man who invented tomorrow"; now he feels like yesterday's man, deserted or disparaged by readers and depressed by the collapse of his utopian dreams for mankind.
I've read a couple of other books by David Lodge, and enjoyed them. This, however, is a very different kind of book. Not bad -- just didn't "grab" me. I'm always a little wary of fiction based on historical figures -- seems that it either takes too many liberties with the subject matter or it's too much like straightforward biography. And I'm afraid this one belongs in that latter category. H.G. Wells is a fascinating figure all right, but I was hoping for more story. After the first fifty pages or so, I felt as though I'd been reading an extended Wikipedia article on Wells -- too much info and not enough action. So this one goes in the DNF batch.