I won’t say I’ve officially given up on reading Henry James’s The Golden Bowl – it is currently sitting on a shelf, a bookmark marking page 55 where I decided that life is too short and my book collection too large to spend so much time slogging through a book where I considered it an accomplishment if I finished ten pages in three hours.
If there is one thing I truly hate as a reader is a book where the author overwrites everything. James even at one point writes something along the lines of: in less time than it took to write this [overblown, convuluted] passages, such and such occurred. And then he never says what such and such was. I guess he wanted the reader to figure it out for themselves, which is fine, but why use a page to sort of show something when two sentences would have sufficed. The passages of dialogue read much more quickly but the characters talk in circles and seem never to complete a thought. I get that it was a different time when people didn’t just come out and say whatever they were thinking and that certain subjects were more taboo than they are now but I’m sure there is a more clear, concise way of telling this story, which is probably interesting and entertaining if you can find it.
Since I haven’t finished the book, I can’t really give the honest review Goodreads.com would like in return for sending me this free (whew!) copy of The Golden Bowl based on the story, I shall review this specific edition. The quality of the edition, which is the Dover Publications Thrift Edition, only made the book’s readability worse. The word thrift appears to be the key. The pages look like a photocopy of an early edition with its too close lines, tiny print, uneven spacing, and occasional ink spot. I downloaded a copy of The Golden Bowl from Project Gutenberg to help me get through the book but with so many other reading choices, I haven’t attempted to finish just yet.