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The Princess Casamassima (Classics) by [James, Henry]
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The Princess Casamassima (Classics) Kindle Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Description

Synopsis

The child looked up from her dandling and patting, and after a stare of which the blankness was somewhat exaggerated, replied: "Law no, Miss Pynsent, I never see him." "Aren't you always messing about with him, you naughty little girl?" the dressmaker returned, with sharpness. "Isn't he round the corner, playing marbles, or -- or some jumping game?" Miss Pynsent went on, trying to be suggestive. "I assure _you,_ he never plays nothing," said Millicent Henning, with a mature manner which she bore out by adding, "And I don't know why I should be called naughty, neither."

From the Inside Flap

When Henry James chose to, as he did in The Princess Casamassima, he could write about the political turbulence of his era with astonishing excitement and directness. The London underworld of terrorist conspiracies that entangles his hero, Hyacinth Robinson, comes alive under his pen with a violence that seems, 100 years later, only too familiar.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1254 KB
  • Print Length: 612 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 014043254X
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reissue edition (27 April 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002ZJSV82
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #536,578 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So far this is the first book of James' that I have absolutely come to loath. Often grouped with 'The Bostonians' due to its political leanings this isn't really that enjoyable. There is some good characterisation here but the whole story seems to meander on for way too long, indeed James was originally tasked with writing a short story, but he ended up producing a novel, rather like Balzac, sometimes he gets carried away a bit too much.

This book it has to be admitted has always been enjoyed more Stateside than it has in this country, but it has always divided reviewers on its merits and failings. The story of an illegitimate boy brought up by a relative stranger from an early age because his mother is in prison would seem like a good starting point. But alas when the radical politics start getting involved and our 'hero' having to decide whether to go ahead with a terrorist attack or do something else then tragedy strikes. The problem here is that the whole story is dragged out and it is oh so easy to lose interest, also James isn't really that up on what he is writing about, for instance compare this to the brilliant The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale, by Joseph Conrad.

All in all I was left disappointed, and if you have never read any James before, then DO NOT start with this book. Despite its many faults though there is a good sense of our main character feeling and being isolated and a loner throughout the story.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I downloaded a copy of Princess Casamassima by Henry James from ForgottenBooks when it was their free Book Of The Day.

Princess Casamassima is a six hundred page novel which felt to me more like a thousand page book. It's taken me well over a week to read it! I loved how James takes his readers into the London of weak-willed bookbinder Hyacinth Robinson. His descriptions of houses and streets, and his wonderfully nuanced characters kept me reading and interested to the end, but he is not a concise author by any stretch - I frequently found myself willing him to 'get on with it'! We must have been told of Hyacinth's dubious parentage two dozen times and word-for-word reported conversations are never to the point. From a brief synopsis, Princess Casamassima could be classed as a thriller. Our young hero Hyacinth joins a shadowy group dedicated to class revolution in England. He undertakes to perform a shocking act on their behalf, possibly even a murder, however James is so vague about the group, their real aims, the act assigned to Hyacinth, and whether Hyacinth really cares at all, that any tension evaporates as fast as it is created. Instead, we spend our time drinking copious cups of tea with a disparate cast: a dressmaker and a shop girl, a music hall violinist and a bedridden girl, an Italian princess and an exiled French revolutionary, a philanthropic Lady and a chemist's assistant. The minutiae of their interactions is as fascinating as it is infuriating which makes for a very strange novel.

Based on my experience of Princess Casamassima I probably won't rush to read James again any time soon, but wouldn't rule his other novels out completely in the future - providing I can set aside enough time!
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Format: Paperback
This is probably the most untypical novel Henry James wrote. His sure footing when dealing with the leasurely wealthy, slips here. The characters simply do not convince and James appears almost patronising towards them. His hero has the most annoying and inappropriate name - "Hyacinth."
I suppose James should be commended for reaching outside his normal milieu, but "The Master" is not on form here. A clumsy long-winded apprentice has taken his place.
The is one for the completists only. For anyone new to Henry James try "The Portrait of a Lady," "The American", "Daisy Miller" or "The Europeans"- all great, accomplished books.
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