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In the work that has been judged the finest of his later novels, (printed here in Bennett's corrected version) Arnold Bennett gives us an unfogettable portrait of a miser and his wife. Henry Earlforward is a second-hand bookseller with a passion for money. He marries Violet Arb, a widow with a fortune of her own, yet he is eaten up by fear and greed. Set against the dark forces of avarice is the Earlford's maid, Elsie, whose love of life, generosity of spirit and warm humanity give Riceyman Steps a fine balance between hopelessness and optimism.
'I closed the book at seven in the morning after the shortest sleepless night of my experience ... there I had "Bennett triumphant" without any doubt whatsoever' - Joseph Conrad
- Penguin Books Ltd, September 1999
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