A charming and absorbing book told with a timeless vitality that wraps the story around you until the minutiae of life recede to a far distance (a friA charming and absorbing book told with a timeless vitality that wraps the story around you until the minutiae of life recede to a far distance (a friend was calling me from less than two meters away, totally unheard).
Despite the fact that I am not an avid reader of early American fiction, Gatsby engrossed me; the delicately crafted scenes spun by words, the detached descriptions of over the top, gross wealth and indulgence charmed me. The hysterical level of revelry seemed almost natural, allowing me to sink into the events as described. Only as the party ends, the characters recede and the scene closes would I stop, assesses what I had read and feel slightly aghast at what I had been swept away by.
On the other hand, the introduction for this edition (ISBN 9780141037639), by Tony Tanner, 1990, totally failed to engross me. It is wordy, confusing and seems to be more inclined to review every other item written by Fitzgerald rather than the book it alleges to introduce. There are long quotes from every other book he wrote, most of which I have not read and am not interested in reading now. I could not make it past page ten, which is a shame since there are fifty of them and introductions can be really good sometimes. ...more
Well for a start... no, NO! it is not "The sorcerers stone" it is the philospophers stone, just publishers in 'Merica thought that Americans were tooWell for a start... no, NO! it is not "The sorcerers stone" it is the philospophers stone, just publishers in 'Merica thought that Americans were too illeterate to know what a philosophers stone was. Other than that, loved it. I like kids books anyway and this was one of the better ones....more
For years I re-read this trilogy on average once a year, I got out of the habit as time and an abundanceHow did I go so long without re-reading this?
For years I re-read this trilogy on average once a year, I got out of the habit as time and an abundance of books to read pressed in on me.
First I'll say I do understand the people who "can't get into it". We live in a world overflowing with fantasy and fiction novels, with strong female characters (So very absent in this trilogy) and easily accessible novels that can be read, like literary candy-floss, with no effort or effect...
This story is written from a world that is no more; it is practically a historical novel, like Austin or Wilde, breathtakingly new and vibrant yet lasting the test of time for some of us. Because it was written so long ago, the historical issue is that in the writing it often challenges younger people to consider different mores of behaviour. For example, I have so often heard Sam and Frodo's relationship described as homoerotic that I have given up pointing out that behavioural mores change over time, but they do, they really do a lot.
This book is gorgeous; it describes golden peacefulness and dark torment with equal creativity, it takes you on a journey into the deepest fantasy of the psyche in a way that so very few novels can. I am once again captured by the joy of reading, that I first experienced at thirteen, when I first read The Fellowship through. Again I'm full of gratitude that this amazing saga was written and that I got to read it. Again, I cant wait before embarking on "The two towers" ...
Incidentally, my copy is the 1959 one, but it is not on Goodreads so I faked it :)
Of all the completed Jane Austin works I have in the past, had the rockiest time with this one. While I adore Austin's writing this one has always seeOf all the completed Jane Austin works I have in the past, had the rockiest time with this one. While I adore Austin's writing this one has always seemed to me as the one that drags the story out too much, and spent an inordinate amount of time on the trials and tribulations but skimmed over the triumphs and rewards. The other thing is, that as a teenager, when I first read it this was the ending I 'liked' the least.
Do I even need to describe the plot? Well, ok then; with her famously cynical and observant eye Jane Austin describes the lot of women in her society who are almost always wholly reliant on the goodwill of menfolk for their existence. Her keen calmness probes into the motivations and the players of the social class in which she lived and manages to describe them with a cynical compassion which never dates and never ages...
Oh, wait... what do you mean the other plot? Ok, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are two sisters who, with their mother, are left to the financial goodwill of their brother on the death their father. Sadly their brother has neither goodwill nor sense and is wholly under the thumb of his mean wife and so they are left with almost nothing. Elinor falls in love with her brother in law, but as the embodiment of 'Sense' in the novel, she behaves with rigid conformity to the mores of the times, does her best under unequal conditions and is the real heroine of the story.
Marianne falls in love with a dashing, handsome, rich young man with whom they have no acquaintance and few connections. As she is the embodiment of 'Sensibility' she fully indulges in youthful, passionate emotions, unconventional behavior (such as writing to the young man! Shock!! horror!!!) and as such suffers the most wrenching misery when he abandons her and marries a wealthy young woman.
Really though, these sisters, their circumstances, their connection, their connections THROUGH circumstances and their romances are just vehicles for the most acute social observations presented as an astoundingly readable story.
It has been some years since I re-read it and it grows on me each time. I found the plot more cohesive than I remembered, also I think that the general cast appeal to me more: Many of them are satirical or stereotypical, even the primary characters are not exempt from that and I think when I was younger that bothered me more. As a rebellious teen the underlying message seemed to me to read "do what society tells you to" and I was not on board with that, but these days I read it differently, or perhaps I have aged and am just more on board with doing as society tells me to.
Also as a teenager, I hated the fact that it was not really a 'happy ending'. Sure the people ended up happy, but the ones I didn't like got all the money! And everything they wanted! How is that happy? Well, Now I see that Jane as a young woman was so much smarter than me and recognised that happiness is a personal thing. This really is the best ending that could have been written for the Dashwoods. The last thing, the fact that the trials are most of the book but that we never really 'see' the rewards or the happiness of either sister, I still think that is true but perhaps Austin was not yet mature or practiced enough as an author to write these scenes, in any case I like the ending better than I ever did before, this re-read. Not all books can end with the interstellar satisfaction of Pride and Prejudice after all.
Incidentally, this copy is not the copy I read; I own The Laurel 1961 edition with the introduction by Mark Schorer, but since their are already 47 pages of S&S editions it does not seem worth adding it. Especially so, since the introduction is useless, it raves on about P&P, barely mentions the actual book it is introducing and is boring. ...more