Chris's Reviews > The American

The American by Henry James
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's review
Jul 30, 2011

liked it

This is solid, early James. There's no over elaborate sentences here and it made the book enjoyable. The plotting is too frenetic and unrealistic to be taken on its face ---a sword duel, a flight to a Carmelite order ---so if you're reading it for logic, don't. James has some really astute comments on the American temeperament vs European, which is the basis of his book. But he also has within it a contest of human will and his frank, hard moral outlook is bad wins over good, but what good brings to the fight is never enough because it always wants it less or without the mold. So Charles Newman never had a chance because of his less cynical nature. James puts the lessen sqaurely but I wish Charles, because I'm human, had more fight in him.

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