Whoo hoo! I’m finally finished with Henry James! When I read The Iliad as my first “study” book, I thought reading prose would be easier than epic poetry, but I’ll be honest…this really seemed to drag on forever. I know some of you have been wondering about this book sitting in my Currently Reading section of WWW Wednesdays. Trust me, it’s a strugglebus only reading a chapter a day! But, I think I’d exhaust myself trying to read more of these books at a time.
The Aspern Papers
This story made me really angry at everyone involved. At the narrator for being such a prick and taking advantage of Miss Tina and the old woman. While he is upfront about his intentions and desire for nothing but the Aspern Papers, he still manipulated Miss Tina quite a bit. I hated the old woman for hanging on to these papers with such a fervor, wanting to burn them rather than have anyone else have them. And then there is Miss Tina. Now, I understand how tempting it must have been, being a spinster and having a man come live with her, befriending her, and all that. But come on Miss Tina! You KNEW what he wanted. He TOLD you what he wanted. The entire relationship you were plotting to get those papers away from your aunt. So why in the world did you think he was in love with you, and not those papers? Sigh. Miss Tina made herself ridiculous in the end, and I was so ashamed.
It was well written, I just didn’t like a single character in it. Sometimes that happens. *shrug*
The Turn of the Screw
I’ll be honest–I had to look up the Wiki summary of this one because I was so utterly confused by what the heck was going on. I could tell it was some sort of ghost story–that much I got from the beginning narration. After that, I completely lost my way and I was just ready for it to be OVER…which thanks to the short chapters and my chapter-a-day ration…it took FOREVER. Oh my goodness. Needless to say I did not like it.
The Beast in the Jungle
I quite liked this one, maybe because I can relate to it so much. The main character feels there is going to be something so big in his life that he must put off everything else for waiting. Even when he meets the love of his life–a woman who becomes his best friend and essentially, life partner, he will not marry her, because of this “beast” of an event. And he waits, and he waits. And May, ever patient, waits with him. I’m always waiting for the next big thing to happen, so it struck home to me quite a bit.
The Jolly Corner
My first thought when beginning this one was “Wow, this would make a great name for a bar!” More than that, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s another one of James’ really vague ghost stories.
I think that’s the key thing about James’ writing–and the thing I most dislike. His stories are so vague, probably to seem mysterious, but I never had any idea what was going on. There was never any real definition of what the “mystery” was or what I was supposed to be looking for. Just this whispery hint of discomfort. The protagonist was troubled, but why? I always ended up going to Wikipedia afterwards to see if I understood the story correctly, and more often than not I found out details that I had missed.
So, not a fan of Henry James. Mark another X on the list!
Fulfills Boxall #85
Fulfills PopSugar #25: A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t