Posts Tagged ‘stupid’

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Reviews at EP: The Visits of Elizabeth, etc.

January 17, 2011

My new post at Edwardian Promenade is up! It’s about one of my favorite Elinor Glyn books, The Visits of Elizabeth, and two sequels, one by Glyn and one…not.

I found myself thinking, halfway through Elizabeth Visits America, about the way books take place in their own separate worlds. I mean, I often think about how an author’s style sort of creates an alternate universe, so the works of Elinor Glyn take place in a world where women are naturally a bit conniving and men are very simple and countries age like people, but here I was thinking more about how I read a lot of books set in the same time period, but somehow I always relate them in terms of style, not history. Anyway, there’s a bit in Elizabeth Visits America where Elizabeth is in New York, and she talks about young people who aren’t out in society yet, and how the boys and girls are as familiar with each other as siblings, and how their dances are almost like children’s parties, and I suddenly realized that — remember, this is 1909 — hey, that’s Patty Fairfield that Elizabeth is meeting, basically. So, I don’t know, I thought I’d share that.

Anyway, the post is here.

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Under the Andes

January 13, 2011

So, obviously everyone’s had the experience of being inĀ  dark room and not being able to see anything. And then after a few minutes your eyes adjust to the lack of light and you can see a little bit again, even if it’s just vague, dark shapes. But if you can see anything at all, that means that there is light coming from somewhere, even if it’s only a tiny little bit. Eyes do not function in the total absence of light.

There are a lot of things that drove me crazy about Rex Stout’s Under the Andes, but that was the worst. I mean, Rex Stout is supposed to be a genius. I can accept the nutty plot twists, because nutty plot twists are funny, but the way everyone kept being able to see in total darkness was even more infuriating than the bit where the narrator is like, “Oh! Inca knotted thread writing! I saw that in a museum once, so I can totally read it.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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I Fasten a Bracelet

June 11, 2010

Brace yourselves: this is a long one.

Here is a blurb I found at the end of PG’s text of From the Car Behind:

Why should a young well-bred girl be under a vow of obedience to a man after she had broken her engagement to him? This is the mysterious situation that is presented in this big breezy out-of-doors romance. When Craig Schuyler, after several years’ absence, returns home, and without any apparent reason fastens on Nell Sutphen an iron bracelet. A sequence of thrilling events is started which grip the imagination powerfully, and seems to “get under the skin.” There is a vein of humor throughout, which relieves the story of grimness. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

October 6, 2009

Fergus Hume’s Mystery of a Hansom Cab was hugely popular in, like, 1887, but I’m not quite sure why. I mean, I didn’t figure out who the murderer was, sure, but I felt like Hume’s attempts at misdirection were more important to him than the integrity of the plot. Trying to figure out the solution isn’t a huge part of reading mystery novels, for me, but I like to at least have the option, and I think lying to the reader is the ultimate sin a mystery writer can commit.

Also, the crime wasn’t that exciting. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Graustark

April 17, 2009

I’ve been very busy lately, but I always make time to read. What I can’t always make time for is the writing part. So, in an effort to catch up, here are my brief thoughts on Graustark:

Graustark is about a rich American named Grenfall Lorry — and his name is pretty much the coolest thing about him — who falls in love with a mysterious foreign girl traveling through America with her aunt and uncle. He follows her home to Europe, only to find that she is actually Princess Yetive, ruler of the tiny principality of Graustark. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Coralie

March 8, 2007

I’ve spent too long reading poetry, and now I’m taking a break to talk about bad prose. I mean, I like Tennyson, but In Memoriam is kind of long. And Coralie, by Charlotte M. Braeme, is neither long nor complex.

Coralie is narrated by Edgar Trevelyan, a poor young man of good family who works as a clerk to support himself and his invalid sister Clare. They’re barely making ends meet, and Clare has one of those mysterious fictional illnesses: a spinal ailment that can only be cured by expensive food and freedom from worry.
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The Coquette’s Victim

March 7, 2007

A few days ago, I read a couple of truly terrible novellas by Charlotte M. Braeme, a writer of love stories for the English lower classes in the mid to late 19th century.

The first was called The Coquette’s Victim, and it starts with an aristocratic-looking young man being brought before a judge and charged with attempting to steal a watch. The judge is surprised, because it is well known in this kind of fiction that people with aristocratic faces never commit crimes. The guy also gives his name as John Smith. Why do these people bother? Can’t they come up with anything less obviously false?

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