Jamie's Reviews > The American

The American by Henry James
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's review
Nov 24, 2011

liked it
Read from November 24, 2011 to January 06, 2012

I'd like some great film director to put her mind to transforming this novel into a grand cinematic period piece with magnificent costumes, etc....then, even when the plot is slow moving and the turns visible a few miles away, it wouldn't matter because I'd be busy enjoying the scene. Maybe she could even play with it, telling it from the point of view of Mrs. Bread, or the young wife of the Marquis de Bellegardes or better yet, Madame de Cintre. I found James' depiction of the Carmelite nuns fascinating, as well as the description of French arranged marriages..."'The marriage had been made in your horrible French way,' Newman continued, 'made by the two families, without her having any voice? 'It was a chapter for a novel. She saw M. de Cintre for the first time a month before the wedding, after everything, to the minutest detail, had been arranged. She turned white when she looked at him, and white remained till her wedding-day. The evening before the ceremony she swooned away, and she spent the whole night in sobs.'" The ending surprised me, however...wonderfully unsatisfying.

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Reading Progress

11/24 ""Is she a beauty?" he demanded. "No." "Oh, then it's no use--" "She is not a beauty, but she is beautiful, two very different things. A beauty has no faults in her face, the face of a beautiful woman may have faults that only deepen its charm.""
11/24 page 100
26.0% ""People are proud only when they have something to lose, and humble when they have something to gain.""
04/03 marked as: read
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