Add surprise to your reading life

Recently I was trying to rearrange my books – well, that’s a lie, I was trying to ORGANIZE my books, which had never been organized – and...


Recently I was trying to rearrange my books – well, that’s a lie, I was trying to ORGANIZE my books, which had never been organized – and found a copy of “Washington Square”, by Henry James. It’s a very small novel, “a slip of the tongue”, and was originally serialized, so it’s crisp and quick. (James’ later novels are the opposite: Byzantine, subtle, even the sub-texts have sub-texts, etc. They are wonderful but require deep concentration.) Anyway, I hadn’t read ” Washington Square ”for a decade, and I gladly plunged into what Wikipedia calls“ a structurally simple tragicomedy which chronicles the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, unemotional father.

While technically accurate, this summary understates the book. It’s a roller coaster. Catherine is the girl in question, and a touching character, even though James compares her intellect to “a bundle of shawls.” The conflict between Catherine and her father centers on an intriguing man who courts Catherine for her money. Catherine’s father sees through this gold digger, but Catherine is the victim of his male tricks. The back of my copy has a blurb by Graham Greene which states that “Washington Square” is “perhaps the only novel in which a man has managed to invade the female realm”, which is offensive to all genres – but a terrific entry in the backhanded compliment Blurb Hall of Fame!

I take the opportunity here to share a curious fact about James which may or may not influence your reading. One of her close friends was Edith Wharton, and many years ago I visited Wharton Estate in Lenox, Mass. (You can take a tour! The grounds are beautiful.) Wharton has built special guest quarters for James at the mansion, including a private bathroom. During my visit, I couldn’t help but notice that her bathroom did not have a toilet. I’m pretty sure other bathrooms had a toilet, which is generally considered a bathroom genre staple. Was the lack of a toilet something James had… specifically requested? We must meditate.

To read if you like: Mind the business of others, “Succession, ” bulldozing hundreds of red flags chasing a crush

Available from: Classic Penguins (or mark a copy on eBay, like I did)


Dive deeper into the New York Times books

Send your comments on the newsletter to RLTW@nytimes.com

PS Pro tip: If you’re not currently looking for a book to read, you can always put these newsletters away and refer to them the next time you need them. As Alec Baldwin said in “Glengarry Glen Ross”:

Source Link

COMMENTS

Name

Africa,903,Americas,4285,Art & Culture,15714,Arts,6713,Arts & Design,1835,Asia,3508,Automobile,518,Baseball,767,Basketball,605,Books,4122,Business,5586,Celebrity,2633,Cricket,648,Crime,158,Cryptocurrency,1936,Dance,644,Defense,836,Diplomatic Relations,2496,Economy,1295,Editorial,260,Education,1418,Elections,308,Energy & Environment,3132,Entertainment,23366,Environment,3860,Europe,4448,Faith & Religion,235,Family & Life,817,Fashion & Style,3544,Finance,21151,Food & Drink,4017,Football,1219,Games,97,Gossip,10289,Health & Fitness,4365,Health Care,956,Hockey,248,Home & Garden,920,Humour,994,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,18101,Media,527,Middle East,1668,Movies,1945,Music,2870,Opinion,3720,Other,12754,Other Sports,5336,Political News,11324,Political Protests,2324,Politics,18424,Real Estate,2146,Relationship,106,Retail,3116,Science,2860,Science & Tech,10808,Soccer,333,Space & Cosmos,404,Sports,13082,Technology,3684,Tennis,681,Theater,1870,Transportation,313,Travel,2761,TV,3910,US,1238,US Sports,1481,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1069,Weird News,998,World,17631,
ltr
item
Newsrust - US Top News: Add surprise to your reading life
Add surprise to your reading life
https://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/11/20/books/20RLTW-VELAZQUEZ/20RLTW-VELAZQUEZ-facebookJumbo.jpg
Newsrust - US Top News
https://www.newsrust.com/2021/11/add-surprise-to-your-reading-life.html
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/2021/11/add-surprise-to-your-reading-life.html
true
732247599994189300
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content