Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going, 14 May 2011
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This review is from: Villette (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
I read Jane Eyre many years ago and remember really enjoying it. So I thought I would give Villette a go. And to be honest, I was a little disappointed by this one. There is no doubt that this is a beautifully written book, and that Bronte's descriptive powers are sometimes quite extraordinary. I also really enjoyed the characters and some of the interplay between them, and indeed in those parts of the novel where there is some action or dialogue, it was quite easy to whizz through the pages. For some reviewers it seems that this is enough. Indeed, one reviewer suggests that this isn't a page-turning 'modern' novel, and we shouldn't expect it to be. That's fair enough.

However, whatever the novel, and whenever it has been written, there does need to be a decent plot. And actually, somewhere in Villette there is a good plot trying to get out, but it is smothered by pages and pages of description. Too often I felt that at last the story was taking off, only for it be slowed down again with long descriptive passages. In a 500+ page novel this is problematic! At times then, I felt that Bronte is a little over-indulgent.

If you too have read Jane Eyre, be warned that this novel is very different. If you like long, descriptive passages which are admittedly beautifully written, you will enjoy this. There was sufficient for me to enjoy in that respect, but in the end I spent a lot of time hoping that something would eventually happen in this story. It sort of did in the end, but by then, I had had enough. In short, a bit of a slog.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jul 2012 12:55:14 BDT
Rosie34 says:
Yes - I agree totally! I am about half way through (after really enjoying Jane Eyre) but the character herself annoys me - so self deprecating and I find myself wanting to give her a good shake! Like the reviewer, I keep thinking - now the story is going to start going somewhere - only to sink back into long winded descriptive passages which seem totally unnecessary and self indulgent. I will carry on as I very rarely give up on a book

Posted on 1 Sep 2012 23:53:30 BDT
Rumpuscat says:
I'm 30% through and losing the will to live.

Posted on 2 Mar 2013 16:32:59 GMT
The reason this novel is far harder to read than Jane Eyre is because Jane Eyre is sensationalist Victorian Literature, the market it was aimed at was one steeped in periodical novels, and the same market that the new detective fiction genre would have been aimed at. Villette however is much more focused on Bronte's actual experiences, such as when she studied and then taught in Brussels (Villette being Bronte's name for Brussels). Of course all her works have elements of her life but if you read Villette and The Professor alongside it gives a rounded view of Bronte's development. If you're finding this one difficult to grasp but enjoyed Jane Eyre then I'd strong suggest reading some biographies about Charlotte in particular and then returning to the novel, it'd make it easier and ore enjoyable. :)
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