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Footnotes 2017-2018 > Help - Henry James is killing me

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message 1: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments Or more accurately - his sentence structure is giving me brain damage!
I’ve enjoyed Victorian novels and also Virginia woolf’s meandering writing. But I can’t do HJ
I’ve been listening to Wings of a Dove, and I just get a headache with every sentence.
From time to time there is something I really enjoy - and that convinces me to carry on. But oh my god it is so hard to follow. Every sentence has 10 disclaimers inside it.

Is he worth the struggle?
I don’t mind a bit of hard work... I do think art is worth it... when it’s worth it
But yikes!

Any words of wisdom? Should I he stay or should he go?

message 2: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments Just a random sentence from the book:

The implication was thereby constant that what they said when not together had no taste for them at all, and nothing could have served more to launch them, at special hours, on their small floating island than such an assumption that they were only making believe everywhere else.

Or this:

She had come on from Boston for that purpose; had seen little of the girl—or rather had seen her but briefly, for Mrs. Stringham, when she saw anything at all, saw much, saw everything—before accepting her proposal; and had accordingly placed herself, by her act, in a boat that she more and more estimated as, humanly speaking, of the biggest, though likewise, no doubt, in many ways, by reason of its size, of the safest.

message 3: by Jen (last edited Jul 17, 2018 08:24AM) (new)

Jen | 1545 comments I personally like him but I also understand how his writing style would drive people crazy.

I don't have any suggestions to help you get through it. If you are hating it, you'll probably continue hating it. If you're getting headaches, I'd say you should give up. Maybe try again at a different point in your life -- I find my tastes change quite a bit from year to year.

message 4: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5159 comments LOL must have been written in a time when they paid by the word...

message 5: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1237 comments I just read What Maisie Knew, and I agree. There are moments of brilliance, then moments of wtf. I know he serialized Maisie, so there’s a good chance he was getting paid by the word. Too bad when his works became books, there wasn’t someone who edited out the fluff.
Maybe listening to it would make it better. I’m going to try that next time I tackle him.

message 6: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 9065 comments annapi wrote: "LOL must have been written in a time when they paid by the word..."

LOL! Agreed! And it seems that he is someone I should stay far, far away from!

message 7: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Do you feel as if your life or soul would be enriched if you were able to get through it? Or are you reading it for an external 'should' - ?

message 8: by Jgrace (last edited Jul 17, 2018 04:00PM) (new)

Jgrace | 3109 comments I listened to a great performance of The Turn of the Screw, Emma Thompson and Richard Armitage. I thought a novella would be a good introduction before tackling a longer book. Talented actors and familiarity with the plot didn't prevent me from getting totally lost in his convoluted sentences.
I don't think I'll go for the longer books.

message 9: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7466 comments I just checked his books and I don't think I've ever read anything by him.

message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9352 comments Reading should be for pleasure. Find something you really love and can dig into.

message 11: by Magdalena (new)

Magdalena | 414 comments I've never read any of his books so I can't really comment on the writing but I have seen a few film adaptions and they always leave me feeling a bit depressed.

message 12: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6396 comments I read and enjoyed Washington Square - 4 stars. The sentence structure isn't quite so onerous.

I listened to the audio of The Turn of the Screw - only 3 stars.

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