Sunday, July 13, 2014

Remarks on Recent Reads

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I found it difficult to connect with this novel. Fitzgerald has a lot of balls in the air with this novel, and at times, it felt like he added anything he could think of from his college days. Also, I didn't understand why there was a section in the middle of the novel that reads like a play. I kept hoping the story was going somewhere, and there were flashes of brilliance in the writing, but the story of Amory Blaine somehow left me cold.

The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm

This book is not what I expected. Rather than a biography, it is more a book of literary criticism of biographies about Sylvia Plath. The book also deals with issues involving Sylvia Plath's literary estate and the role that Ted Hughes and his sister, Olwyn, have played. This is an interesting book but not one for someone who has never read anything about Sylvia Plath, and not for someone looking for a more traditional biography about Sylvia Plath.

The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty

The Robber Bridegroom, published in 1942, is Welty's retelling of a Grimm's Brothers' fairy tale. She makes the story her own, setting it in Mississippi's Natchez Trace, with a band of outlaws, a naive young girl, and some mysterious goings on. There is beautiful, lyrical language in the storytelling. This is definitely a book for someone interested in Welty's early work. 

Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West

Since this year is the 100 year anniversary of World War I, I decided to read some works having to do with the Great War. My first selection is Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West. This short novel, first published in 1918, is West's first novel and has the distinction of being the first novel about the Great War written by a woman. The story deals with the return of Chris Baldry, a shell shocked British soldier. Over the course of the story, we see how his condition affects the three women in his life and how he overcomes his condition. I liked this novel and found it a good introduction to literature dealing with World War I.     

1 comment:

  1. I read This Side of Paradise last year - was inspired to read Fitzgerald beyond Gatsby after reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald...I agree with you, though. Had a hard time getting through it.