The Thinking Reed
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The Thinking Reed

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  8 reviews
West’s thoughtful romantic novel—now available as an ebook

A tale of love found, lost, rekindled, and redefined

Isabelle, a wealthy American widow, arrives in France to restart her life and discovers she has her choice of eligible suitors. Torn between a placid liaison with a southerner and a tortuous affair with a Frenchman, Isabelle’s plans suddenly take an unexpected turn...more
ebook, 431 pages
Published December 21st 2010 by Open Road Media (first published 1936)
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Features of West's writing familiar to me from Black Lamb and Grey Falcon are present here, albeit in a fictional story about a wealthy woman defining her own personal characteristics against the characters of the men she's loved. Sometimes these tics get a bit tedious, as in the extended natural descriptions (which, here, tend to read as filler), unusually articulate dialogue, and moral ruminations. Whether the book passes for interesting with you will probably depend on how well you can take I...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Sometimes I have this little mental background program running: How do I rate/review this? I was all over the map on this one. I even hit a point - well in - "should I finish it?" But that was brief. I am compelled to warn you, even to the point of appearing spoilerish, that I hit that point because the novel became somewhat repetitive and boring. And then tell you that was the object - at least the object to that place in the story.

There are two very good characterizations in this. One is of th...more
This was on my late mother's shelf inherited some years ago, and just noticed now as we built our family library and transferred hundred of books around the house. It's hardly worth the blurb given on the paperback cover (the original, not the one pictured here) as one of the greatest books of the 20th century. That said, it's an interesting vehicle for West's jaundiced view of what wealth does to people's souls, and the destructive instincts of the greedy or insecure. Frankly, there's nothing s...more
Zen Cho
I liked this -- some interesting things about power and privilege. The Lauristons are one of the best take-offs of a certain kind of mind-set that I've seen. I was also kind of impressed by the stuff on race -- at one point she started on analogy of white people talking to natives that made me get all skeeved out, but when I continued I saw that the analogy was skewering said white people's preconceptions about and condescension towards "natives", rather than just being creepy about white people...more
Katharine Grubb Hawkinson
Jun 08, 2008 Katharine Grubb Hawkinson rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classic Lovers
Recommended to Katharine by: Alice's Bookshelf
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Took a while to get into, found Isabella far too easily led, felt she needed a good shaking.
recommended in the June 1936 Delineator magazine!
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Cicely Isabel Fairfield (21 December 1892-15 March 1983), known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She reviewed books for The T...more
More about Rebecca West...
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“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe neet not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” 6 likes
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