Molly G's Reviews > The Great Short Stories of Robert Louis Stevenson

The Great Short Stories of Robert Louis Stevenson by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Oct 31, 2008

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bookshelves: fantasy, fiction, historical, mystery, short-stories
Read in August, 2008

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ~ a reread. After being so saturated with all the adaptations it's inspired, was surprised at the parts and aspects I didn't remember at all, and how it's much more complex and morally ambiguous than has translated into mass consciousness. I do enjoy some of the adaptations, but the original in this case remains the most sophisticated and wonderful.

The Pavilion on the Links ~ finished May 25, '08. Engrossing and enjoyable read.

A Lodging for the Night ~ Jun 16. A bit stranger.

Markheim ~ Jul 3. Salvaged by the ending. (Finished on a plane from LAX to ORD.)

The Bottle Imp ~ Jul 31. Just loved it. The setting, imagery, the characters, their relationships, balance of description to action and knowing where to omit description, vivid depiction of a religiosity without conceit or judgment (or moralizing); a great short story in all respects, including being perfectly suited to its length.

The Sire de Malétroit's Door ~ Jul 31. Editors of the anthology say this of it:
'No word need be said, we are sure, about "The Sire de Malétroit's Door," except that if you have not read it, we envy you from the bottom of our hearts—for there is no joy that has to do with books quite like that of reading a wonderful short story for the first time.' (Preface.)
My feelings are a bit more mixed. ;-) Definitely well-written, engaging, filled without conceit or overwroughtness with the fascinating ideas Stevenson simply writes in always; just ultimately left with a feeling of, "...Oy" at the outcome and how it relates to characters' actions and attitudes. Which is most probably a deliberate theme.

The Beach at Falesá ~ Aug 11. Complicated reactions, mostly negative, though think it's a case of the author exploring negatives via a character who doesn't find them negative.

The Suicide Club ~ Aug 26. That fascinating creature of the ideal sovereign crops up again; someone who can earn and command total love and loyalty from a two-minute casual conversation, both on a personal/social and a political level. My own usage of the word "fascinating" is tricky since in a way this ideal character jades me a tad against the story, but I suppose it's used well enough and evened out. The first part (of three) of the story is the only one in which he's the protagonist, rather than a flitting presence, and in that one we see his less idealized qualities which get him into the plot at all.

When I entered and rated each story individually, (not counting Jekyll and Hyde which I think of as a separate entity) none scored higher than The Bottle Imp with three stars. Taken in totality, even those stories I wasn't as fond of are elevated in fondness by connection with all the others.
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