which was just as well

Discussion in 'English Only' started by veracity, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. veracity

    veracity Senior Member

    "It must have been six when I reached my flat. I had the top two floors of a high, stuccoed house in what the residents call Notting Hill and the Post Office stubbornly insists is North Kensington. Used syringes glittered in the gutter; at the halal butchers opposite they did the slaughtering on the premises. It was grim. But from the attic extension which served as my office I had a view across west London which would not have disgraced a skyscraper: rooftops, railway yards, motorway and sky - a vast urban-prairie sky, sprinkled with the lights of aircraft descending towards Heathrow. It was this view which had sold me the apartment, not the estate agent's gentrification patter - which was just as well, as the rich bourgeoisie have no more returned to this area than they have to downtown Baghdad."

    Hi again,

    Robert Harris: The Ghost - novel.

    The bold part of the paragraph is really sophisticated for me.
    The gentrification patter was necessary because the rich people were not willing to return to this area in the same way as rich people are not returning to the war stricken Baghdad area? Did I get it correctly? What is the good interpretation?

    Thank you.
  2. Tabac Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest (USA)
    U. S. - English
    The agent, it seems, had exagerated quite a bit [gentrification patter]about the 'quality' of the people in the neighborhood. The wealthy [rich bourgeoisie] who used to live in the area have not returned.
  3. Kevin Beach

    Kevin Beach Senior Member

    He's contrasting the reality with "the estate agent's gentrification patter".

    The state agent told him that rich (or well-off or well-to-do) people were returning to live in the area. Yet when he got there he found that they weren't. However, his decision to buy the place was based on the view from the attic window. The implication in the words "just as well" is that, if he had believed the estate agent, he would have been very disappointed.
  4. Lexiphile Senior Member

    England English
    Tabac, your paraphrase is a correct evaluation of the situation described, but it is not a good interpretation of the sentence.

    Firstly, I think you are stumbling over the phrase which was just as well. This is a set phrase meaning "which was good."

    And what is "good" in this sentence is the fact that the character bought the aprtment because of the good view and not because of the "gentrification patter." If he had relied on the gentrification actually taking place, he would have been disappointed. However, the view is still good, so he is not disappointed. It was not important to him that the rich bourgeoisie (I think they're now called "those of unquestionable gentricity" :) ) move in.
  5. veracity

    veracity Senior Member

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008

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