quarta-feira, setembro 24, 2014

The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James

I have read a few books by Henry James, but he never impressed me much - he writes extremely elegantly, but in a somewhat too "wordy" way for my taste, and I besides I tend to forget his books soon after finishing them, even when I liked them - I'm thinking, for instance, of The Ambassadors. I somehow always considered his writing too over elaborate for the content - how much more I appreciate the no less elegant and also elaborate writing of Virginia Woolf or Lytton Strachey!

I bought The Portrait of a Lady on a sale more than a year ago, and its sheer size - and the misgivings about James - always made me put off its reading. Then, about a week ago, having finished my books supply and waiting for the last order from amazon, I decided to take it up, and it was actually a very nice surprise. The writing is as over elaborate as ever, but this time the characters were fetching, the social relations and psychology very insightful and the plot clever and interesting, including the ending. I knew more or less how it was, having seen the movie adaptation by Jane Campion years ago, but the book is much more complete and satisfying. It's actually a very good book, and I read it very quickly.

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