Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
on 13 January 2013
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
I started reading 'The Masters' with the feeling that I was in for a literary treat. I had heard of the reputation of C.P.Snow and that his 'Strangers and Brothers' sequence of novels is highly regarded. In addition, there were uniformly positive reviews on Amazon.
I was quickly disillusioned.
The novel concerns a group of academics at a Cambridge college who are involved in the election of a new Master, focusing on power struggles and petty jealousies. There are 358 pages of this jostling and manoeuvring. The point could have been made in a novel of half that length.
The concept didn't work for me mainly because the narrator, Lewis Eliot, comes over as a passive onlooker, rather than an involved participant.
On the positive side, Snow evokes well the drab, austere world of a pre-Second World War Cambridge College; the dialogue is true to life and the various academics' characters are clearly delineated. His literary style is nothing special, but in a sense, that doesn't matter, as it suits the overall feel of the novel.
'The Masters' is unremittingly dull and it has put me off reading other novels in the 'Strangers and Brothers' series.