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Harmer John; An Unworldly Story

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By: (1884-1941)

In "Harmer John; An Unworldly Story" by Hugh Walpole, the reader is taken on a journey through the life of the eccentric and enigmatic Harmer John. Walpole's depiction of Harmer John is both unsettling and mesmerizing, as he navigates the complexities of human emotions and social interactions.

The character development in this novel is truly remarkable, as the reader witnesses Harmer John's evolution from a peculiar outsider to a tragic figure grappling with his own inner demons. Walpole's writing is both poignant and evocative, capturing the loneliness and anguish of Harmer John's existence with striking detail.

The atmospheric setting of the novel adds to the overall sense of unease and foreboding, as Harmer John navigates a world that is both familiar and alien to him. Walpole's prose is rich and immersive, drawing the reader into Harmer John's twisted psyche and emotional turmoil.

Overall, "Harmer John; An Unworldly Story" is a haunting and unforgettable read that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the final page. With its masterful storytelling and complex characterizations, this novel is a literary tour de force that is not to be missed.

Book Description:
Hjalmar Johanson is a boyish unworldly Swedish body builder come to Walpole’s fictional cathedral town of Polchester. His name is “simplified” by the townsfolk to Harmer John. He is attracted to Polchester by the cathedral. He has a vision of transforming the town and its populace to a healthier and more beautiful state. He establishes a business, essentially a gymnasium, to help people become healthier. He envisions tearing down the slums along the river and rebuilding the area with more attractive and publicly healthier buildings. But not everyone shares his vision, especially the slumlords who make their money by renting the slum to those who are poor and vulnerable, those unable to afford anything better. Harmer John encounters xenophobia, jealousy, and malice. In an earlier story Walpole novelized the Francis Thompson poem The Hound Of Heaven about a fearful soul pursued by an insistently loving God. Some observers see in Harmer John a parallel to Francis of Assisi, that is, a naïve holy man opposed by the selfish worldliness around him. - Summary by david wales

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