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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and challenging...
Definitely the most demanding read I've had in a long time, Henry James' THE GOLDEN BOWL is not to be missed. In James' final novel, he has created a true masterpiece. Not only must the reader concentrate, but he/she must also actually participate and think in order to take anything away from the book. It's basic plot is quite straightforward: Adam Verver and his...
Published on 24 Oct 1999

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best
As a Henry James lover, having read everything he's written, & waded through The Golden Bowl twice, I feel I've earnt the right to say it's not his best book.

The epicurean connoisseur at life's feast indulges himself in his last book with a fault to which he confessed himself prone: "to over-treat".

The writing is marred by endless empty...
Published on 12 Aug 2008 by Squeaker


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and challenging..., 24 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Definitely the most demanding read I've had in a long time, Henry James' THE GOLDEN BOWL is not to be missed. In James' final novel, he has created a true masterpiece. Not only must the reader concentrate, but he/she must also actually participate and think in order to take anything away from the book. It's basic plot is quite straightforward: Adam Verver and his daughter, Maggie, are affluent art collectors living in Europe. Maggie marries Amerigo, an Italian prince in reduced circumstances, and Adam marries Maggie's longtime friend Charlotte. What father and daughter don't know is that Charlotte and Amerigo were formerly lovers, and that they have rekindled their affair.
Written in a beautifully ambiguous style, BOWL is full of ingenious symbolism, and must be experienced to be fully appreciated. James has decided to tell a story with a very unique voice, and it is likely that most readers will be scared off by the decidedly difficult prose. However, it is an absolute must for any serious reader who wants to challenge him/herself with what is arguably Henry James' best novel. It may take months to trudge through (as it did for me), but it is worth it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best Henry James, 2 Mar 2013
By 
Jo Anderson "Scottish writer" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl (Wordsworth classics) (Paperback)
Wonderful, subtle, unsettling, brilliant Henry James. If you should happen to come to the book after seeing the Merchant Ivory film (which is extremely good considering the limitations of adaptations) you will be blown over by the intricacies of the plot, the rich metaphors, the twists of meaning and implication, the marvellous descriptions of people and places, and the development and surprising turns of character. The cover illustration on this edition was also very refreshing after the 'Dreams' painting I am accustomed to, and Nicola Bradbury's introduction and notes are both necessary and excellent.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic, 2 Dec 2008
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
When I started reading "The Golden Bowl" I wasn't sure if I would finish it, but I promised myself I would read at least a hundred pages, to give it a chance, and by the time I had got that far I was hooked. Yes, the enormous, convoluted sentences make Proust seem terse, and I'm pretty sure not all of those sentences actually parse, but I came to realise that this doesn't really matter, and stopped trying to disentangle them. It's almost as if James had dictated the entire book in a long-winded conversational style and never bothered to check if what he had said made grammatical sense.

So I took to reading the book when drowsy, often glass in hand, and contented myself with "getting the drift". And the drift is beautiful, seductive even. I found myself wanting to know what Charlotte and the Prince had been getting up to behind the scenes, and what Maggie would do to stop them doing whatever it was. A scene near the end, when Maggie lets Charlotte get away with claiming a victory, stunned me with its brilliance.

I'm glad I made the effort (and it certainly was an effort to begin with). The book is a flawed masterpiece (like the bowl itself - was that deliberate?). Give it a sympathetic go and you'll be rewarded.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, 12 Aug 2008
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As a Henry James lover, having read everything he's written, & waded through The Golden Bowl twice, I feel I've earnt the right to say it's not his best book.

The epicurean connoisseur at life's feast indulges himself in his last book with a fault to which he confessed himself prone: "to over-treat".

The writing is marred by endless empty sub-clauses, pointless repetition, rhetorical flourishes, & affected, stagey dialogue. The metaphors are forced and over-blown, the description of character hyperbolic, the drama suffocates under the weight of its own 'written-ness'. His late style marks a form of literary inflation: here he uses 50 words where in earlier work he used 5 to more powerful effect.

The 'Master' has, in short, run to fat.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death by sub clause, 28 April 2008
By 
Ms. H. L. Riggott "hannalucie" (Sheffield UK) - See all my reviews
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If anyone had told me before I read this book that such a thing as death by sub clause existed I would have laughed in their face. I am not denying this book it's place in Literature, I am saying it is not an enjoyable read. I love beautiful prose as much as the next person, and i advise you to find it in D H Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. This novel tortures, wrapping an average plot in alot of flowery window dressing.
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9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More than usually ponderously luke-warm, 19 Dec 2005
By 
Tmo Wilkinson "tom_will" (Oxford) - See all my reviews
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Who would have guessed that, despite his intrinsic, nay, atavistic desire (at least, that is how he characterized it to himself), to use when writing, as a matter of policy, the most long-winded and almost incomprehensibly tortured syntax, crawling through an infinity of sub-clauses, that he would one day, perhaps not during his lifetime but certainly in the near future, become acknowledged, by his own enemies no less, as one of the greatest and most tedious writers of the century, or indeed, of any other?
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unreadable, 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Golden Bowl (Wordsworth classics) (Paperback)
couldnt make head nor tale of it Ile buy the dvd and see what the experts make of it that i couldnt
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The Golden Bowl (Wordsworth classics)
The Golden Bowl (Wordsworth classics) by Henry James (Paperback - 23 Oct 2000)
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