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Java Head

3.08  ·  Rating Details ·  12 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
1918. American novelist Hergesheimer has been called a naturalist writing of the romantic past. He is also the author of short stories, essays, biographies, and the autobiography, From an Old House. Java Head begins: Very late indeed in May, but early in the morning, Laurel Ammidon lay in bed considering two widely different aspects of chairs. The day before she had been ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published June 1946)
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Apr 14, 2010 Frank rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Curious, this novel by a novelist who has now been entirely forgotten. On the basis of this book, I'd have to say: justly so. It's not that it's a failed book so much as that it just fails to achieve greatness, or even distinction.

I'm not quite sure why. The construction is interesting. It's a portrait of two families of American merchants, the one successful, the other not. In 10 chapters we see events unfolding through the eyes of 10 different characters. However, the style of writing is the s
Apr 27, 2015 Drew rated it liked it
"As much of a shame it is that Java Head didn’t win the Pulitzer Prize in 1920, it’s even more of a shame that Joseph Hergesheimer’s legacy was cut short. Based on what I’ve read of him, it seems that while he was wildly popular during his heyday in the 1920’s, he had faded into obscurity by the time he died in the mid-1950’s. Could Java Head have been more expertly crafted? Sure. Could the story have been more engaging? Definitely. But the fact that it and its author have been, now, almost ...more
Jun 22, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: new-england
Two families of sea-faring captains in Salem, Mass. In 1849.

Working from a list of books I read years ago.
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Joseph Hergesheimer was a prominent American writer of the early 20th century known for his naturalistic novels of decadent life amongst the very wealthy.

He established an early reputation with his first novel The Lay Anthony in 1914. Three Black Pennys, which followed in 1917, chronicled the fictional lives of three generations of Pennsylvania ironmasters and cemented the author's style of dealin
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“The wisdom lay in this–that here she must remain Manchu, Chinese; any attempt to become a part of this incomprehensible country, any effort to involve herself in its mysterious acts or thought, would be disastrous. She must remain calm, unassertive, let the eternal Tao take its way.” 0 likes
“In a flash of self-comprehension, Roger Brevard knew that he would never, as he had hoped, leave Salem. He was abstemious man, one of a family of long lives, and he would linger here, increasingly unimportant, for a great while, an old man in new epochs, isolated among strange people and prejudices. Whatever the cause - the small safety or an inward flaw - he had never been part of the corporate sweating humanity where, in the war of spirit and flesh, the vital rewards and accomplishments were found.” 0 likes
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