Joseph's Reviews > The Prisoner of Zenda

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
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's review
Apr 07, 2009

bookshelves: 2009
Read in May, 2009

An excellent book! Fast-paced, witty, and well-wrought prose with just the right amount of melodrama and adventure. I loved the beginning of the story when, here, the protagonist responds to his sister-in-law who is pestering him.

"My dear Rose," I answered, laying down my egg-spoon, "why in the world should I do anything?"

And so the adventure begins. It makes be despair (slightly) that an adventure novel then (1894) exhibits such great prose. Prose that can't be touched by today's standards. Prose with posture, presence, complicated syntax, and the comfort and pace of a man sitting in his armchair, as the evening grows dim, writing the next installment to his adventure. The only novel I can think of that I have read in the last ten years like this would be Peace Like a River. Of course, the difference in the standards of today's prose are simply a difference, not a lack of standards.

Anyhow, whenever I read something from before 1910, I feel like I'm a different kind of head (perhaps one without the prevalence of cinema?), and the prose like a force to its own self spreads out easily before me with no distraction.
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