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He is also rather unpleasant. He sees Trou-sur-mere as a rock pool whose inhabitants he can study. Inevitably he becomes part of the "pool" and the story charts his decline. Connolly took his characters from real life and in the early s he and his wife had lived and travelled in the south of France. The origin for the Naylor character was apparently killed in the war flying for the RAF. Racasse, the artist, survived and Connolly had a picture of Connolly and his wife painted by the artist the character is based on.

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The Rock Pool is basically an attack on the English social system and charts the downfall of some of the "bright young things" of the late 20s. There are some marvellous comic moments and the middle class Englishman is shown up for what he is.

There is also the sense of of something coming to an end, no more innocence. A brief book, an easy read and well written. However, given its quality I am surprised it is so little known. View all 12 comments. Edgar Naylor is holidaying alone in the south of France, and hops off the bus in the town of Trou-sur-Mer. It had been an artist's colony in the s, a magnet for expatriate Americans, and Naylor conceives the idea of writing about it, thinking of it as an archeological excavation, Cnossus-sur-Mer.

He has literary ambitions, but weak ones. Read more. Jul 13, Paulo Santos rated it really liked it. This is a nice book, probably one I would have liked better had I read it some 20 years ago. All that bohemian approach to the meaninglessness of life appealed to me much more in my youth. Even so, I agree it' well written, and the final chapters are really good and redeem the more or less tepid previous part if it had ended some 40 pages before, I would rated only a 3 star.

Interesting, but I think somewhat dated.

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Sep 15, Jeneba Charkey rated it really liked it. It was probably a coincidence the I began reading this book right after I had streamed a documentary about the life of Jean Michel Basquiat - although the time period of the book was some 40 years before Basquiat was painting and living a dissolute fashionable life in lower Manhattan, the scenes and the characters of the book and the film could have been interchangeable.

As another reviewer has remarked, it is strange that this little novel is not better known. The depictions of a small herd of It was probably a coincidence the I began reading this book right after I had streamed a documentary about the life of Jean Michel Basquiat - although the time period of the book was some 40 years before Basquiat was painting and living a dissolute fashionable life in lower Manhattan, the scenes and the characters of the book and the film could have been interchangeable.

The depictions of a small herd of non-conformists living the cafe life in the south of France with their hangers-on, their lovers with ambiguous sexual appetites, and artists in their circle with child-like, irresponsible personalities - this could have been written about the 's and no one would notice.

The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the story is told from the point of view of a vapid individual of little talent and, accordingly, his depictions of those around him are superficial and never give any clues to the motivations and inner workings of those around him. He is one of those people that "things happen to. The satire is too subtle to allow for a deeper meaning. Imagine if someone without the depth and warmth and psychological acuity of Patti Smith had written "Just Kids You will encounter a tribe of people who we all thought could not have existed before Warhol and Stonewall.

Only read the author's introduction of the Hamish Hamilton edition — it was first published in , in Paris, by Obelisk , and it seems again this book is about a disappeared s, of artist "colonies" of bohemian lay-abouts in southern France. It was a period when art was concerned with futility, when heroes were called Denis and Nigel and S Only read the author's introduction of the Hamish Hamilton edition — it was first published in , in Paris, by Obelisk , and it seems again this book is about a disappeared s, of artist "colonies" of bohemian lay-abouts in southern France.

It was a period when art was concerned with futility, when heroes were called Denis and Nigel and Stephen and had a tortured look. I wonder who remembers them now. In any case I think I may claim to have created a young man as futile as any. It also dates because the life it deals with has almost disappeared; the last lingering colonies of expatriates have now been mopped up, and if you were to pass by Trou-sur-Mer you would find no trace even of any of the characters in the Rock Pool. The bars are closed, the hotel is empty, the nymphs have departed. This one feels very precisely dated: the main character has a horror of all things middle class and is thrown into a weird bohemian village where everyone's hopping into bed with everyone else but nothing gets described and even the nods and winks got it rejected by respectable publishers.

I think a social historian could plot its position on the graph of changing attitudes to within about 3 months. I enjoyed the first chapter, got annoyed with it and then felt a sudden warmth for the hero in th This one feels very precisely dated: the main character has a horror of all things middle class and is thrown into a weird bohemian village where everyone's hopping into bed with everyone else but nothing gets described and even the nods and winks got it rejected by respectable publishers.

I enjoyed the first chapter, got annoyed with it and then felt a sudden warmth for the hero in the last ten pages.

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Jul 31, Danny Rhodes rated it really liked it. It is Connolly's only novel and is set at the end of season in a small resort in the south of France. Connolly's main character, Naylor, starts with a study of the decadent inhabitants of the resort and ends up becoming one of them. Connolly had married in and with the financial support of his wife had been able to enjoy a life of travel and particularly enjoyment of Mediterranean resorts. The novel is set in the fictitious Trou-sur-mer "Hole on the Sea" , which is said to have been based on Cagnes-sur-Mer between Cannes and Nice.

Connolly had difficulty having the work published. The publisher who initially accepted it then turned it down because one of the partners objected to the heavy lesbian content. A second publisher explained that it could not be published "over here". Connolly then approached the Obelisk Press of Paris, who published it, but complained that the Anglo-Saxon reticence disgraced their list.


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It was published in Britain by Hamish Hamilton in To the modern reader, it may be surprising that the novel should have been considered obscene. The objection at the time was to the lack of "moral weight". This, Connolly attributes to his classical education, when he discovered by the use of cribs that the dry Latin he read was the "ironical, sensual and irreligious opinions of a middle-aged Roman, one whose chief counsel to youth was to drink and make love to the best of its ability".

The central metaphor, the rock pool, was chosen because it represented a repository of life on a seashore, stranded in the rocks after the tide had gone out — an allusion to Trou-sur-mer and its inhabitants.

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Most of its characters were based on real individuals whose existence was precarious. The main character, Naylor, was apparently based on two people.