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Poor Miss Finch (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 13 Nov 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (13 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199554064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199554065
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

praiseworthy novel ... it is well worth exhuming (David Holloway, Sunday Telegraph)

From the Back Cover

Wilkie Collins's intriguing story about a blind girl, Lucilla Finch, and the identical twins who both fall in love with her, has the exciting complications of his better-known novels, but it also overturns conventional expectations. Using a background of myth and fairy-tale to expand the boundaries of nineteenth-century realist fiction, Collins not only takes a blind person as his central character but also explores the idea of blindness and its implications. His sensitive presentation of the difficulties, disappointments, and occasional delights which follow the recovery of sight by someone blind since infancy is still one of the best accounts in fiction of a problem which continues to intrigue philosophers, psychologists, and the general public, as it has done since it was first discussed by Locke and Berkeley in the eighteenth century.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The importance of this novel has been overlooked by critics and readers for a long time but it is a great text. Written soon after 'The Moonstone' it is about a blind girl, Lucilla Finch, who falls in love with a man who - because of his epilepsy - takes medicine that causes his skin to turn blue. When she regains her sight, Lucilla mistakes her lover for his twin brother and almost marries the latter unknowingly. It contains the typical Collinsian treatment of identity as sporadic and has all the twists and cliff-hangers that his more popular novels are famous for. Having a strict purpose of presenting an accurate portrayal of blindness in fiction, though, means that Collins is much more concerned with this 'mission' rather than the rich narrative techniques we get in his earlier novels. Nevertheless, the Gothic atmosphere, the witty characterisations and some decidedly feminist ideas, make this novel a winner for me and definitely a book worthy of the Collins canon. Buy it, read it and appreciate it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a mystery, but a family drama (I wouldn't say melodrama as that implies more exaggerated characters than this book has.) One of Wilkie Collins' most accomplished traits is his ability to use a narrator whom he gives a completely unique and believable voice and individuality. The story centres around identical twin brothers who both fall in love with the same (blind) woman, and features impersonation and disguise. Wilkie Collins has lightness of touch and a sharp wit. The only thing that prevented me from giving this 5 stars was the fact that the ending felt rather hurried,as though he was anxious to tie up all the loose ends quickly.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book very much despite the misleading blurb. It is probably rather easy reading compared to other, more well-known, Wilkie Collins books, but worthwhile nevertheless. I particularly liked the description of the awfulness of being read aloud to (which I also dislike).
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This was a very good story - intrigue, deception, interesting characters, and perceptive insight to being blind and awareness of one's other senses. Madame Pratolungo, who tells the story makes no bones about speaking her mind concisely and amusingly. I couldn't put it down.
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Format: Paperback
The novel's title is ironic; the eponymous heroine is neither poor financially or to be pitied. She is a feisty woman who has a mind of her own; she is also blind and the novel tells of her involvement with twin brothers who both aspire to be her suitor.

However, this being Wilkie Collins, nothing is straightforward and the reader is taken on an exciting journey involving deception and fraud.

The tone of the novel is set by its narrator, Madame Pratolungo, who has a wonderful way of summing up a character or situation in a few pithy words, for example: "Her aunt's 'grand manner' makes me sick. It is nothing (between ourselves) but a hook-nose and a stiff pair of stays" (p330). Her portraits of the pompous vicar and his wife, seemingly always suckling a baby whilst reading a novel, are very entertaining.

One jarring note is the depiction of the German Doctor Grosse who speaks in a cod Germanic style.

'Poor Miss Finch' is an excellent, at times exciting, read which I found hard to put down. For those of you who usually shy away from Victorian novels, I would urge you to give it a go.
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