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Thread: The Wings of the Dove

  1. #1
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    The Wings of the Dove

    What do people think of this novel? For the first half I had no idea what was going on, but then eventually things started coming together. I liked the ending of the novel, but I didn't find the work nearly as rewarding as Portrait of a Lady.

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    I'm halfway through it --- will let you know when I finish it. It had been a long time since I read James, and I must say this time I'm finding him quite difficult --- I don't remember having had any such difficulty with 'The Aspern Papers', 'Washington Square' or 'The Turn of the Screw', admittedly shorter and perhaps less complex works.

  3. #3
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pecksie View Post
    I don't remember having had any such difficulty with 'The Aspern Papers', 'Washington Square' or 'The Turn of the Screw', admittedly shorter and perhaps less complex works.
    With thirty pages to go, I am riveted with fascination. How inscrutable yet admirable are Kate, Millie, Mrs Lowder and Susan Shepherd! Reading is slow going with countless rereads, but that's Henry James and particularly the later works, including the monumental The Golden Bowl, which I thoroughly enjoyed some months ago.

    Read fittingly last Christmas, Turn of the Screw still seems shallow and disappointing to me, whereas I then adored the winding and subtle plot in The Aspern Papers. As for Washington Square being less complex, why is it that so many grossly misinterpret this novel as: girl jilted by gold-digger, psychologically abused by her father, and ultimately finding her way as a feminist trailblazer?
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  4. #4
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Beautiful Wings

    I've finished!

    The book is if anything harder to read at the end, harder than The Golden Bowl, and the ending seems decidedly problematic. So I'm re-reading the last chapter hoping for inspiration. Nevertheless the book has been entrancing, and a stupendous Milly has folded/spread her beautiful wings around me.

    Edit: But what of Kate's dysfunctional family and, in particular, Lionel Croy, who appears at the start and end of the novel? There's clearly more to the novel than I thought.
    Last edited by Gladys; 08-09-2010 at 07:38 AM.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  5. #5
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gladys View Post
    I've finished!

    The book is if anything harder to read at the end, harder than The Golden Bowl, and the ending seems decidedly problematic. So I'm re-reading the last chapter hoping for inspiration. Nevertheless the book has been entrancing, and a stupendous Milly has folded/spread her beautiful wings around me.

    Edit: But what of Kate's dysfunctional family and, in particular, Lionel Croy, who appears at the start and end of the novel? There's clearly more to the novel than I thought.
    I loved it. One of the saddest books I've ever read.

  6. #6
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    One of the saddest books I've ever read.
    Merton Densher ends a tragic figure. Kate ends as he father, Lionel, begun. And Milly, sad but inspiring?

    All very sad.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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