- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages
- Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 22/09/2000
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781903155080
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by aapjebaapje
The sense of foreboding for the family benefiting from Mr Knight’s advice and success was almost unbearable. I much preferred The Priory. There was no formula and the story was finely crafted. Young Anne was a less involved novel than The Priory but nonetheless enjoyable for the fine writing. They Knew Mr Knight was really a story where the end was obvious all the way through – we were just wondering when the house of cards would crash around their ears. Even so, Dorothy Whipple’s insight into mother’s realisation of the less attractive sides of their children’s characters, the loss mothers feel when their children move away from their sphere and the love between couples even through adversity, is incisive and beautifully told.
Review by Sarahsponda
My first Dorothy Whipple book!The characters were interesting (and flawed) but the story was predictable. I don't think the predictability bothered me as much as the ending; Celia's realization tied it up too quickly.I look forward to reading more of the author's work. Time to look at the Persephone catalog again!
Review by Kasthu
Dorothy Whipple, how do I love thee? They Knew Mr. Knight is the story of a middle-class businessman, Thomas Blake, whose life and work becomes entwined with that of a big-time entrepreneur named Lawrence Knight—a man that the reader can quickly see is full of style but no substance. Everything Mr. Knight does revolves around money—he even looks at Thomas’s modest little house and sees things in terms of financial value. The novel follows the Blake family’s rise and fall, poignantly so in many places.On the other hand is Thomas’s sensible wife, Celia, who shies away from the constant striving of her husband and Mr. Knight. Although written in the first person, the story is seen through the eyes of Celia Blake, probably the most likeable character in this book due to her practical common sense. Yet she’s painfully gauche at the same time, naive and trusting where maybe she shouldn’t be. So it’s painful to the reader to watch her rise and fall in tandem with her husband (along with their teenage children).This is a novel about striving, to become bigger/better/whatever than one is, sometimes at the cost of other people. Dorothy Whipple tends to hit her reader over the head with her theme, but the story unravels itself in a very clever way. You know that Something Bad is going to befall some of these characters, but the interesting thing is how it’s all going to happen. Dorothy Whipple’s prose style is very simple and straightforward, which is why I love her books; her books tend to be long(ish) but the story moves swiftly.
Review by startingover
Fascinating portrait of a family as it goes up in the world. Mr Knight is Satan, the tempter. Thomas initially just wants his birthright, his father's factory, but he gets greedy. Celia occasionally has spiritual yearnings, but the resolution of these is unclear - she finds her role, it was a role (traditional housewife, the glue that holds the family together) she always had and enjoyed, so there's no real change to an extent that seems to warrant the spiritual ecstasies. [April 2004]
Review by LyzzyBee
21 Jan 2011Marvellous Persephone in which a family's fortunes are swept up - and then inevitably down - by their association with a business magnate who resembles, in my mind anyway, the Monopoly Banker. Lessons are of course learned, and fortunes within the family rise and fall, but the portraits of family life and relationships are beautifully portrayed as ever with Whipple. Another good old-fashioned satisfying read.