Let's start the year off proper. A brief book discussion is in order!
Comtesse de Castiglione by Pierre-Louis Pierson 1867
Do you remember more than a month ago when I went to Venice, I said I was going to start reading Henry James' The Wings of the Dove? Well, I have finally pecked away at it to it's last crumb, and can't help but feel like I'm still a bit...peckish? There is something about Henry and I that just do not meld together, which is strange as I love his friend and contemporary, Edith Wharton, wildly! Is it the endless descriptions -pages!- that start to bore me or have me loosing concentration? Or was it just the case with this book? I'd like to try reading The Aspern Papers, his novella on Venice. What is your viewpoint on him? Please tell me I'm not alone!
Nevertheless, The Wings of the Dove tells a somewhat malicious story of a poor Mr. Densher and another Kate Croy, who find themselves in love but under the command of Kate's Aunt Maud. Aunt Maud refuses to allow Kate to marry for love a man with no money. Along comes our 'dove,' Milly, an American millionairess, alone in the world with money coming out of her ears, yet who seems to be struggling with a terminal illness. Conniving Kate suggests Milly to Densher, as she's impossibly rich and dying...which given time will give the two of them a means to be together. Terrible? Yes. Compelling? A bit. I won't spoil the end but as these stories of wicked souls go, the end is often like a sad Chinese film. This was no exception.
Asta Nielsen in Den Sorte Drøm (The Black Dream), 1911
I will give Henry James credit where it is do. The scenes of dialogue were more than exciting, almost page-turner worthy, but unfortunately they only made up about 30 percent of the book. And the last 25 pages were not only made up of all drama-filled dialogue, but also really finished the story with a bang. A bang big enough for me to maybe try another of his stories. Can you give me any suggestions?