Friday, November 27, 2009
Possession by A. S. Byatt
"Possession" is about a literary mystery. Roland Michell is researching a Victorian poet named Randolph Henry Ash when he discovers old letters that suggests a romance with another poet, Christabel LaMotte. His search leads him to a LaMotte scholar named Maud Bailey. Roland and Maud search through old letters and diaries trying to find the truth.
I found it hard to get into this book. Along with the third person narrative, it's told through diary entries, letters and poems. It's full of references of people I've never heard of and am not sure if they really exist or not. You have to read this book with a dictionary and thesaurus. The only other book I've read like that was "Humbolt's Gift."
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
Philip Carey is orphaned at the age of 9. He goes to live with his aunt and uncle. His uncle is a village vicar. For a while Philip goes through a deeply religious stage, even thinking he'll go into the clergy himself. But instead, after many unhappy years at a boarding school, he goes to study in Germany. He eventually spends time in Paris studying to be an artist.
After realizing he'll never be a great artist, he returns to London to study to be a doctor. He also meets Mildred and becomes obsessed with her. But Mildred is looking for the good life.
"Of Human Bondage" is a character study of a man who is not perfect.Philip is complicated. At times you understand what he's feeling and at other times you want to knock him in the head. He's one of the most fascinating characters I've come across in a long time.