A fictionalized study based on many biographical materials and family accounts of Henry James's life, this volume ranges seamlessly from his memories of his prominent Brahmin family in the States to his settling in England. Along the way it offers hints of James's troubled sexual identity.A fictionalized study based on many biographical materials and family accounts of Henry James's life, this volume ranges seamlessly from his memories of his prominent Brahmin family in the States to his settling in England. Along the way it offers hints of James's troubled sexual identity.Read Less
Like New. ISBN: 0-78618275-X 10 audio CDs, five per case, two cases within a slipcase. No wear, but very minor rubbing to the slipcase edges. 'In stunningly resonant prose, [the author] captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married, who never resolved his sexual identity, and whose forays into intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. ' 10 CD's. Approx. running time: 12.5 hours.
First off, know that I did not finish the book. One hundred pages in I decided I'd rather read something that seemed to be heading somewhere. I was hoping for something with more depth, more character, more intrigue--more James, actually. I didn't necessarily care that it was slow moving; but I did care that there didn't seem to be any progress toward something. All it seemed to be was snippets of James' life with no real development, no plot, no question. Perhaps it was going to be like some sort of pointillist painting that only made complete sense once all was said and done and you stepped back, but I didn't make it to the end. And if you can't get the reader to the end, what's the point?
Apr 1, 2007
Henry James' stunted emotional life
An intriguing novel about Henry James, his preoccupations, his work, and ultimately, his inability to involve himself emotionally in others and the aspects of life that could have provided full satisfaction to himself. Toibin is masterful in using a tone that reflects James' own, and in depicting a man who wrote about life rather than living it. The book is not for fans of fast cinematic cuts or fast-moving narratives. This is a book for the patient reader--for those who have tried enough Henry James to know that there is depth there, even if they find it maddeningly obscured by the long sentences and hyper-refined elocutions. For one who has basically given up on James work, I found this novel quite valuable to read.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-04-19 It's a bold writer indeed who dares to put himself inside the mind of novelist Henry James, but that is what Toibin, highly talented Irish author of The Heather Blazing and The Blackwater Lightship, has ventured here, with a remarkable degree of success. The book is a fictionalized study, based on many biographical materials and family accounts, of the novelist's interior life from the moment in London in 1895 when James's hope to succeed in the theater rather than on the printed page was eclipsed by the towering success of his younger contemporary Oscar Wilde. Thereafter the book ranges seamlessly back and forth over James's life, from his memories of his prominent Brahmin family in the States including the suicide of his father and the tragic early death of his troubled sister Alice to his settling in England, in a cherished house of his own choosing in Rye. Along the way it offers hints, no more, of James's troubled sexual identity, including his fascination with a young English manservant, his (apparently platonic) night in bed with Oliver Wendell Holmes and his curious obsession with a dashing Scandinavian sculptor of little talent but huge charisma. Another recurrent motif is James's absorption in the lives of spirited, highly intelligent but unhappy young women who die prematurely, which helped to inform some of his strongest fiction. The subtlety and empathy with which Toibin inhabits James's psyche and captures the fleeting emotional nuances of his world are beyond praise, and even the echoes of the master's style ring true. Far more than a stunt, this is a riveting, if inevitably somewhat evasive, portrait of the creative life. Agent, Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White (June) Forecast: This is too subtly shaded and leisurely for some fiction readers, but James's many admirers will be drawn to its many insights and its uncanny recreation of his world. Five-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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