Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic, 2 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Golden Bowl (English Library) (Paperback)
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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Review Details

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3.4 out of 5 stars (7 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
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2 star:    (0)
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Location: Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,733