7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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.