Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Author: D. H. Lawrence
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Published: 1st June 2006 (Originally published in 1928).
The first thing to say about this book is that it really is quite surprising it was written so long ago. Not only is the language blunt and shocking by even today’s standards, but the subject matter- an exploration of the role of sex within relationships, feels contemporary and ever-relevant.
The lead character Connie marries Clifford Chatterley who, shortly after their honeymoon, is sent to war only to return paralysed from the waist down and completely impotent. He becomes consumed in his success as a writer and with his coal mining business pushing Connie away and increasing her feeling of isolation. She eventually sparks up a relationship with the groundskeeper Oliver Mellors and the remainder of the tale follows their exploits and the consequences of their affair.
I’m a lover of classic literature, but it can get tedious reading stories that are much the same with women generally being wet and pathetic creatures who are easily manipulated and controlled by their male equivalents. It is refreshing therefore that Connie is presented as such an independent woman. Of course we could argue for hours that she is anything but strong and confident but ultimately she is a woman tired of her life, wants more and goes and gets it despite the hurdles in her way. Hooray for her!
I think the book is a very honest analysis of relationships. We would all love to think we could do the noble thing of sticking by someone who has become disabled despite there being a lack of physical and emotional connection , realistically though, this doesn’t happen. The book doesn’t shy from the fact that sex is an integral part of human relationships and explores the voids that can develop when people are just not suited to each other.
I did enjoy the book it was shocking at times, warm and sincere although hearing how much Connie’s womb tingled, flickered or other ridiculous sensation did get a little tiresome!