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Friday, February 27, 2009

Unfinished Review: Portrait of a Lady

Author: Henry James

Genre: Fiction, Classic, Victorian

Henry James' magnificent heroine, a "young woman affronting her destiny"

When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy Aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. She then finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond, who, beneath his veneer of charm and cultivation, is cruelty itself. A story of intense poignancy, Isabel's tale of love and betrayal still resonates with modern audiences.

My Thoughts:

This is the third time I tried to read this book. I did get farther this time around...pg. 113 of 544 total. I just could not get into it. My mind was wandering as I read the pages. I understand the writing style was to have a long single paragraphs, sometimes almost one per page, but visually, I need to see shorter paragraphs or breaks in my reading.

The character development took too long for me. I also had to think constantly while I was reading, and re-reading lines to make sure I understood what was being written. In, short, It was too much work for my mind.

I read to escape daily life and for entertainment purposes. With this book, I felt like I had to work to finish one page, therefore I could not go on any further. I have a rule: If by 50 pages I am not interested in the book, I set it aside for something else. It may be a little more than 50 for some books, it depends, but generally it's about 50 pages.

This also occurred for me when I tried James' other masterpiece The Turn of the Screw. Again, couldn't finish it.

I'm sure James is a great author, unfortunately he is just not for me.
This book was originally part of my Victorian Challenge, so I will replace it with something else.


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