Well....it was a very slow slog, because the writing is dense with very little dialogue (mostly LOTS of narration). Not very lively, no passion, veryWell....it was a very slow slog, because the writing is dense with very little dialogue (mostly LOTS of narration). Not very lively, no passion, very subdued wit...
And yet I did keep picking it back up to read. So... *shrugs*...more
Very excellent, and satisfies my guilty pleasure for a Roman centurion + Jewish/Christian girl romance. Much, much better than the movie version, withVery excellent, and satisfies my guilty pleasure for a Roman centurion + Jewish/Christian girl romance. Much, much better than the movie version, with beautiful language, interesting dialogue and noble characters, believable motivations, and a very gradual and convincing conversions of the Roman/Greek protagonists to Christianity. Very rare that I see such nicely handled conversions, though I have to admit, I rarely look now. The only fault I really found was the author's love of the word "saunter". Everyone saunters, guys, girls, slaves, Roman tribunes....no one can walk normally. But it's a minor and amusing nitpick for otherwise great classic fiction.
Now, the only reason this book may end up in the stalled category is because...I saw the movie. Technically, for a Christian, the ending is not sad at all. But more often than not, my thinking tends towards the normal-of-this-world variety, and if the book ends the same way as the movie, then it's a SAD AND TRAGIC ENDING. The unfinished book weighs down my bag every day. Maybe I'll be able to force myself to finish it soon....
ETA: I did finish it finally, and no, the ending did not feature a corny montage of the 2 lovers mounting a stairway into heaven with clouds and angels, etc. as they symbolically went to death. Yay for that!...more
I was hoping for another Shane, but unfortunately I could not get into the characters or the events taking place. If there were any events happening..I was hoping for another Shane, but unfortunately I could not get into the characters or the events taking place. If there were any events happening...I think the book may have started out pretty slow. I may go back to it eventually....more
Interesting book. Years ago when I first received this book as a gift, I foundered and was unable to continue after reading a little bit of it. I vaguInteresting book. Years ago when I first received this book as a gift, I foundered and was unable to continue after reading a little bit of it. I vaguely recall finding it incredibly dull. I suppose I was too immature at the time to appreciate the language and style of writing, which I now find sophisticated and old-fashioned (in a good way).
Unfortunately, upon finishing the book, the strongest impression I had was that this might be what Stephenie Meyers might be like if she excised all the supernatural/sci-fi out of her stories and wrote like a dead guy born at the turn of the century. The very young female protagonist paired to the much older man. The unrelenting pining and unconditional love for said older man, irregardless of how he treats her or what he may have done in the past. The despondent, doormat passivity when she feels that her true love does not return her feelings. Well, one thing for Meyers is that I certainly kept reading despite all those story points. I skipped a little with duMaurier, because her slower, ornate style made the trembly, spineless, clueless, and really dull protagonist a bit harder to suffer through.
So I guess in summation, while the overall story was interesting and the language beautiful, it still took too long to reach a dramatic high, lingered too long on the main character's woeful misunderstandings and thoughts, and ended in such a way as to be dramatic, sudden, and sleepy, all at the same time. On the other hand, there were points in the story where the protagonist had me wet-eyed and in perfect emotional sync. And there is also the evocative and fascinating poem in chapter 4 that, in hindsight, has very little to do with the conclusion, but which does misdirect the reader's expectations and the tone of the story in a very effective manner.
So this book was good, but perhaps not great. I greatly prefer du Maurier's "The Scapegoat", but I would still recommend this book as something to read at least once....more