Look! We Have Come Through!
Bloomsbury, August 2022Buy now
Lara Feigel listens to birds outside her window – their circling, strident calls – and thinks of D.H. Lawrence. It is the spring of 2020, and, as the pandemic takes hold, she locks down with her partner, her two children, and that most mercurial of writers.
Proceeding month by month through the year, Feigel sets out to reassess D.H. Lawrence: to find urgent literary companionship; to use him as a guide to rural living and an unexpected (and sometimes rage-inducing) guide to child-rearing; to find a way through his writing to excavate the modern world that she feels he helped bring into being.
Tracing the arc of Lawrence’s life and delving deep into his writings, she confronts his anger, his passion, his tumultuous vitality. In the process, she faces some of today’s most urgent dilemmas, from climate crisis to secular religion to contemporary sexuality and feminism’s ideas about motherhood. And as she watches the seasons change alongside Lawrence, Feigel finds the rhythms of her own life changing in unexpected ways.
A dazzling blend of literary criticism, biography and memoir, Look! We Have Come Through! is a spellbinding exhumation of an author, and a compelling manifesto for exposing ourselves to difficult and dangerous views.
To be able to meet the world unillusioned but undismayed is what Lawrence did for Lara Feigel, and it is what she hopes he can do for us as a result of her bracing and honest book. Each chapter homes in on a major topic and Feigel has something fresh to say in every case . Some of the sharpest, shrewdest discussions I have seen of Lawrence for a long time. — Paul Dean ― The Critic
Refreshing and unexpected . The case for reading, and for thinking hard and seriously about the role of reading in a world characterised by fracture, is powerfully made. — Daisy Hay ― Financial Times
A perceptive book . a critical biography but also a pandemic memoir – a story about how an author can inform and change your life . Part of the attraction of the book is Feigel’s candour: the charting of her ups and downs as the seasons pass. If she weren’t so attuned to Lawrence, it would feel ickily self-absorbed. But she writes insightfully about his central themes, and though she torments herself unduly by taking his wackier theories too seriously, her intensity and intimacy are engaging. — Blake Morrison ― Guardian
Feigel’s book is itself Lawrentian: sprightly, capacious, passionate, inquisitive and complex — Tomiwa Owolade ― New Statesman
A lovely, urgent, serious book, making me think about Lawrence and life all over again. — Tessa Hadley
Through an intimate engagement with a brilliant, ever-provocative writer, Lara Feigel navigates the pandemic and a storm-tossed year in her own life as woman and mother. By turns troubled, tender and bold, this absorbing book brings Lawrence’s vivid talent and ideas close, testing them against the pressures of the contemporary. — Lisa Appignanesi
Lara Feigel wrestles with Lawrence, resents him, adores him and even tries to learn from him, all while Covid rages; it makes for a daring and unconventional bibliomemoir that might change the way you feel about sex, motherhood, work, illness and faith. — Samantha Ellis
A fiercely intelligent engagement with Lawrence, half memoir and half critical biography, in which Lara Feigel comes in at a series of oblique angles to reach some startling judgments. I was highly impressed. — D. J. Taylor
Feigel’s Lawrence is an untimely, urgent teacher of life and its passions. Agile, surprising and compulsively absorbing, Look! We Have Come Through! is the perfect tonic for the cynical, jaded spirit of our time. — Josh Cohen
Both an analysis of what makes Lawrence so troublingly intoxicating, and an account of what happens when we succumb to the writers we admire. Clear-headed, yet also strangely intuitive, what makes Lara Feigel’s writing so seductive is the way she seems to absorb Lawrence’s influence so deeply into herself that he becomes her own. — Kate Kilalea
‘I challenge you and me – to do as Prof Feigel has – and really hang out with an author who pushes your buttons and shock, horror, has lived this thing called life before. And has something to say that no one else in your world is saying – through their characters, plots and carefully crafted story lines. Ideally you might not even like them at times but from such conflict and challenge comes an energy you might be lacking and relish.’ Emma Barnett, following her Woman’s Hour interview with Lara