Marie's Reviews > The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
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really liked it
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I found this totally addictive and read it in two sittings. He's not the writer Scott was, nevertheless I found the style and tone to be highly readable. In fact, I thought his coarser style was more appealing in many ways.
By turns sinister, terrifying, amusing, fanatical, complex, simple,realistic, supernatural, ludicrous, coarse, lyrical,poetic...All combining to make a wonderful read.
Although not always my cup of tea in novels, I found the multiple narratives to be hugely interesting and enlightening. My only real criticism of the writing is that the last third of the sinner's confession (although admittedly diabolic and suitably frightening from a believer's perspective) did labour a little in terms of the sinner's travels being constantly shadowed by the hellish creatures. I did skim a little in some of these parts. That said, I did think it a remarkable book and one which I would gladly re-read.
Of course, today the duality of Man's nature is an oft-repeated theme in writing but nothing modern can match this text for imagination and poetry.
As an aside, I adored the minor character of Bessy Gillies, the maid. Her re-telling in court of the robbery was a piece of genius! I've never read such wonderful dialogue. I'd never tire of reading it. But, it wasn't merely clever and amusing, it spoke so much truth about "Like [being] an ill mark." She really spoke to the heart of the story, despite being such a small part.
I loved her! "For my part, I am resolved to keep a clear conscience, till I be married, at any rate." A gem. And a gem of a book.
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Reading Progress

April 28, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
May 9, 2008 – Finished Reading
July 29, 2008 – Shelved as: recently-read

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