Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole My rating: 3 of 5 stars Published pseudonymously in 1764 by an English politician, The Castle of Otranto is usually praised as the first Gothic novel. It not only set off a craze for novels about haunted castles and abbeys, about predatory dukes and scheming monks and fainting… Continue reading Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Marble Faun (1860) is Hawthorne's last completed and longest romance—his term for the type of non-realist, symbolic, and psychological fiction he preferred to write. Composed during and after his and his family's travels in Europe following his political patronage appointment as American consul… Continue reading Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Never Let Me Go is a contemporary realist novel about a friendship and eventual love triangle among three former students of an exclusive boarding school; the novel traces the effects of their childhood and adolescence on their adult experiences as they re-enter… Continue reading Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities by Herman Melville My rating: 4 of 5 stars What was left of Melville's early audience was killed off by the dreadful Pierre, a year after Moby-Dick, and despite various modern salvage attempts, Pierre certainly is unreadable, in the old-fashioned sense of that now critically abused word. You just cannot get… Continue reading Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle My rating: 3 of 5 stars Today, in honor of Halloween, the Paris Review is running an 1872 epistolary exchange between Bram Stoker and Walt Whitman. Sympathy between the authors of Leaves of Grass and Dracula is not as incongruous as it seems, given certain obvious sociopolitical realities—it makes… Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist

Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist by Charles Brockden Brown My rating: 4 of 5 stars An early American novel—perhaps the most famous one—about a family destroyed by mysterious voices that come out of the air with warnings and commands. Narrated in plainspoken prose by Clara, the sister of the titular Wieland, the novel… Continue reading Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist