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What Maisie Knew: and The Pupil

3.11  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Caught in the crossfire of her parents' acrimonious divorce, witness to their battles, intrigues and affairs, neglected and exploited, Maisie is a child who knows too much about the world of adults. James's portrait of a little girl who maintains her goodness and dignity in the face of the bitterness and profligacy of her warring parents is both thought-provoking and inspi ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 16th 2010 by Vintage Digital (first published 1897)
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Lucy
Jan 07, 2015 Lucy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I enjoyed the first half of this book. The language is complex but in a way that I found quite interesting and comprehensible. I like the character of Maisie, obviously she is very sympathetic, though it's hard to understand how she became so intelligent and loving with such selfish adults as role models. But I thought it would go somewhere and eventually I found the repetitiveness of the scenes tedious. Every chapter of the book is a dialogue between Maisie and one or more adults. There was no ...more
Ms Tlaskal
My parents bought me this book for Xmas and I love James- Portrait of a Lady is up there in my top Ten novels. This is very different; cool, collected and unlovable. I did not connect to any of the characters and just felt sorry for the poor girl, a victim of two shallow, narrow parents.
Sally
Jul 29, 2011 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
James's prose is very heavy handed but really quite frank and amusing. This was an excellent book. It made me cringe, but he really managed to capture what some parents put children through during and after a divorce. Quite shocking but very real.
Dillwynia Peter
Oct 05, 2013 Dillwynia Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr James, Mr James!

Again, a strong story & well told, but there were moments - well pages - when I floated down a river of molasses & didn't feel you were adding to my enjoyment. It is very cleverly done in that the reader learns snatches of what Maisie's parents are doing, through her eyes. And her parents are particularly nasty people. And then you discover, for different reasons, why her new adults are almost unsuitable in an Edwardian world. I was a dunce, in one aspect - why where t
...more
Kari
I found this book really interesting. At times it can be a bit heavy going and the style James uses is difficult in places but it is worth persevering with it. The book opens with the settlement of divorce and then proceeds to follow the complex situation Maisie finds herself in, caught between the two warring parents. The first few chapters should be read by anyone going through a divorce and thinking it is acceptable to use their child to attack the other parent! It is both shocking and heartb ...more
Vickii
Mar 27, 2014 Vickii rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
What Maisie Knew is a startling story about a child that was never allowed to be innocent. The setting is England in the 1890s. The novel opens with the nasty divorce of six-year-old Maisie's parents. By agreement, Maisie will spend six month alternating between the custody of her father and mother. Quite early it is obvious that neither parent loves the daughter, but values her only as a weapon to use against the other. Each parent remarries, and Maisie immediately develops a closer relationshi ...more
Catsalive
Mar 19, 2015 Catsalive rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I found Maisie a bit tough going but I bet things are no different now. I particularly enjoyed The Pupil.

What Maisie Knew
Caught in the crossfire of her parents' acrimonious divorce, witness to their battles, intrigues and affairs, neglected and exploited, Maisie is a child who knows too much about the world of adults. James' portrait of a little girl who maintains her goodness and dignity in the face of the bitterness and profligacy of her warring parents is both thought-provoking and inspiring.
...more
Kate
Sep 24, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of my Great Books book club. Many members were frustrated with James' convoluted language. I, on the other had, find convoluted language, when still clear and precise, absolutely delicious! This is a wonderful examination of child abuse and neglect, and parents' inability to see beyond their own selfish needs, from another century. Twas ever thus.
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159
Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the ...more
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