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The Wings of the Dove Audio Download – Unabridged

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 20 hours and 40 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: RNIB
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 26 Mar. 2009
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SPZLNQ

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A late James novel, it has very little action and an excess of reasoning; that is, explanations of why and how people say what they say, not to be confused with explanations of their backgrounds.

In short it is a story about love, friendship and how make a good marriage (that is Victorian upper class marry to money and status). The centrepiece is a spontaneous and deep friendship between Kate and Densher, and a troublingly complex and mind-made scheme that prevents the two of them marrying but involve a rich young woman who is dying, b ut is so very 'magnificent'. This young rich woman and her inherent qualities are being elevated by the author to the status of, almost, etheric, angelic, but without much to show for it. We do not hear much about what exactly it is the makes her so admirable. Is he being sarcastic? I think not, unfortunately.

The style of Henry James is rarely seen among modern writes. He can write long and profoundly on what happens in the moment, without involving the past. His is a description of consciousness more than life trajectory.

His writing is always good and as such it is worthwhile (this novel figures on various lists of the best 100 novels in English), but the thread is too loose. In my copy, Wordsworth Classics, there are two lengthy introductions: One from a scholar who apparently felt the need to help the reader figure out on what it is all about, and the other by the author who also helps us out and explains that he feels he somehow failed in achieving what he set out to show. Telling, perhaps, most reader will probably feel lost at times.

This is one of his slowest and I feel that the ratio of events to thinking is dipping towards speculation, making it, basically, boring.
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By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 April 2014
Format: Paperback
Okay, this book does have some shortcomings, but then the same could be said for all novels, but the person who seemed to denigrate it most was the author himself. I also know that a lot of people don't like James, perceiving him as pompous and long winded, but different horses for different courses.

This was the first published novel of James' latter stage, all three of which are rightly considered masterpieces (he did start other novels, but alas they were incomplete at his death). The actual bones of the plot are simplicity itself, which is often the case with James. The novel itself ultimately revolves around three people, Kate Croy, who wants money, her betrothed, Merton Densher, who has to work for a living, and the rich American, Milly Theale, who is dying of consumption (TB in today's world). Will Kate be able to get an inheritance out of Milly to see her set up in the world? And if she does, will it ultimately bring happiness?

Of course as with most of James' works there is a lot more to the tale, what with other characters, and their ideas and machinations. This novel itself probably has the most ambiguous ending of all James' works, and is something that you are bound to come back to to re-read many times.
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Format: Paperback
This superb, if sometimes difficult tale looks at the blighting effect of money on love and decency and, despite its author's apparent disdain for it, is one of the best things he did - indeed, that anyone has ever done. Plot (though seamlessly constructed) is subsidiary to atmospherics and implication, the brilliant opening chapter where the indomitably ambitious Kate Croy visits her seamy, corrupt dad in his tacky apartment is a master class in suggestive prose.The Venetian palace through which the dying Milly shimmers like sunlight-reflected water in the upper rooms is also superbly evoked, the visits of the financially desperate Lord Mark and his rival Merton (who develops that most uncomfortable quality - a conscience) made all the more tawdry for the comparison. Mrs Lowder is a splendid character too, personifying the pun on her name with her blustering, shameless connivance. You will need patience with the prose here but, if you allow it to bloom in your imagination, you will find yourself enjoying one of the top ten novels written in English. Yes, it's that good.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't my favourite novel of all time. I can appreciate that it is a Classic and there were parts I enjoyed but I did find James' style a little convoluted and confusing. An interesting read nonetheless.
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