Joe's Reviews > A Sleep and a Forgetting

A Sleep and a Forgetting by William Dean Howells
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Sep 15, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: 2009

An excellent example of a writer with ambition and ideas without the imagination and skill to match. Howells unsuccessfully blends strict realism with proto-psychoanalysis, creating a mushy blend of obvious description and dull revelations. He loves to tell you exactly what people are thinking and feeling, often presaging his unrealistic dialogue with two or three unnecessary adjectives telling you what the characters will experience before, during and after their speeches. The expected twist never materializes, and in the end, the plot resembles an overwrought romance novel more than a literary tale. A few times you glance some original ideas about the mind - I'm sure most of this was cutting edge in 1907 - but there's not much of use to take away from this story.

I have no idea why Melville House bothered publishing it.
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