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Posted October 7, 2006
Here is Henry James at his peak. He is witty without being arch, intellectual without being obscure, sympathetic without being apologetic. It is relatively bare bones for Henry James. This novel is about half the size of most of his other ones. The realism is almost photographic. Descriptions of the spoils are ornate as a curator's catalogue. This novel is a challenge in that it is almost relentlessly sober. There are no indiscretions. No scandals are foreshadowed. The characters are upright. Nevertheless, this is an account of pride, stubborness and greed. It is riveting.
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