Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the movie
Very interesting to compare with the recent film. The book shows everything through the child's eyes and lets one draw one's own conclusions about the other characters. The film turned it into yet another story about how a (pretty) child can draw a couple of adults together and help them find happiness. Typical Christmas film stuff. The book is much more disturbing --...
Published 18 months ago by Jane Eyre

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read!
Having seen the recent (excellent) film of the book, I thought I must read it. Unfortunately, it is very hard work. The writing is dense upon the page and very 19th century. It is rather unpleasant and somewhat repetitive. The material is depressing, of course, because the story is about selfish parents who actually don't like and so ignore their daughter. I was so glad...
Published 20 months ago by Mazza B


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the movie, 11 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
Very interesting to compare with the recent film. The book shows everything through the child's eyes and lets one draw one's own conclusions about the other characters. The film turned it into yet another story about how a (pretty) child can draw a couple of adults together and help them find happiness. Typical Christmas film stuff. The book is much more disturbing -- it's hard to tell whether, at the end, Maisie is in the happiest possible situation or in one that will be stifling and unfair to her developing intelligence.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, 1 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
I like to read a Henry James novel every year or so: I love the clarity of his thought and the ethical dilemmas that he presents to his characters (and his readers!).
This short novel is incredibly modern in its subject-matter: a little girl, fruit of a loveless marriage who is neglected by both her parents. Maisie is a very attrattive child to the reader: never precocious or irritating. James pulls off the incredible feat of an unmarried, middle-aged man writing from a child's prespective, and his writing is both believable and moving.
Read it and be prepared to have your heart broken!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wryly devastating story of the casualties of love, 26 July 2013
I've been wondering for years how to write about a Henry James novel. Whenever I try and describe his books to friends, I sow discouragement and disinclination wherever I go, failing to telegraph the magical beauty that lies in all James' great works: the meaning, the observational intensity, the humane humour and sadness, the flashes of extraordinary insight into what makes people tick.

"What Maisie Knew" is the story of a little girl through whose eyes we watch, with sadness, wry smiles and occasional horror and trepidation, the machinations of the various adults around her, who are embroiled in her parents' epic love battles, deconstructed so that its component parts become essentially puppets in a punch and judy show, watched with intelligence and mystery by the child. The moments of real love or kindness are so rare as to be extremely touching: it's above all a tragicomedy, a satire.

The virtuoso quality of his prose thrills with the vibrato of his grasp on the myriad ways people find to communicate whatever they mean to say. In exquisite, hyper-real language he forces you again and again to look - and you see - oh, too much. Everything hidden and visible, everything spoken and unspoken. Gauzy veils of meaning, subtext and intent, corruption and beauty, reveal themselves woozily under his masterful touch, at every turn, in each exquisitely painted, impressionistic scene. They are loaded, nonetheless, with sharp little stings for the unwary (who might believe they're along merely for an elegantly pretty ride in a period drama).

That can make for an intense, almost physical reading experience that sometimes leaves me groping my way through the story, enjoying the experience while simultaneously somewhat exhausted by the effort of keeping up with it. I occasionally have to strangle a desire to shout "just SAY what you MEAN, man!" But of course it's crass as well as beside the point, to wish to tear away such painstakingly constructed layers of meaning.

Henry James left the world lasting gifts of the very finest order, justly-named 'classic' literature of a very special, rare kind, to be savoured forever. Any effort and attention needed to read his novels are richly rewarded. I also loved "Portrait of a Lady", "Washington Square" and "The Turn of the Screw", but I'd put "The Ambassadors" up there as my ultimate Henry James novel, the pinnacle of his art. In the marvellous culture-clash of the `new' world of America versus the `old' world of Europe in the nineteenth century, he found his theoretical muse.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars It is some years since I have read any of ..., 22 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
It is some years since I have read any of Henry James' work, so it took me sometime to re-engage with his rhythm of writing. I often found myself re-reading sentences, to ensure I understood what he was conveying. The subject matter was very interesting, particularly set back in time to the mid 19th century. Although earlier authors often dealt with orphans and the consequent way their lives developed, I found this a brave venture into the effects of divorce on a child. To view Masie's life with a child's innocence and literal belief is quite humbling.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read!, 12 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
Having seen the recent (excellent) film of the book, I thought I must read it. Unfortunately, it is very hard work. The writing is dense upon the page and very 19th century. It is rather unpleasant and somewhat repetitive. The material is depressing, of course, because the story is about selfish parents who actually don't like and so ignore their daughter. I was so glad when the book finished!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars What Masie Knew.....a lot!, 27 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
Henry James style of writting takes some getting used to but it's worth the bother of reading his discriptions of moods and facial expressions. The story about a very young girl who has the unenviable position of two parents, two step parents who sometimes want her and sometimes dont. Thank goodness for Mrs Wix the governess. Looking forward to seeing this when it is released on film
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not easy!, 5 Oct. 2013
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
I recently saw and enjoyed the film "What Maisie Knew" so thought I would read the book on which it had been based. I found the book interesting and could compare the characters to the ones in the film. It's also interesting how attitudes have changed since this book was written. It's not an easy read though - long, long sentences which require concentration.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Virtue triumphs!, 16 Dec. 2014
This is a remarkable story of an acrimonious divorce seen through the eyes of a child. Maisie is shared between her vituperative parents. Both are cavalier in regard to their responsibilities; both re-marry unsuccessfully; affairs and liaisons flourish, and yet Maisie's essential goodness survives.

An excellent morality tale.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Masterly Maise, 18 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
Beautiful prose, and very rewarding read.

To see the world through six year old Maisie's eyes was a revelation.

She was led and yet in the end she was in charge, in a funny sort of way.

She did indeed know everything.

P Coxon
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort, 18 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Maisie Knew (Kindle Edition)
This is one of Henry James best novels, that is particularly relevant to present day social mores. I shall look forward to seeing the film. It is, however not an easy read, as James' convoluted sentences and long paragraphs need an high level of concentration.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

What Maisie Knew
What Maisie Knew by Henry James
£0.00
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews