Rudyard Kipling, Kim

Kim by Rudyard Kipling My rating: 5 of 5 stars Many readers of my generation were introduced to Rudyard Kipling's Kim (1901) by a later novel, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (1992). Ondaatje's warmly lyrical and fragmentary narrative concerns three figures—a Canadian nurse, a Canadian thief, and a Sikh sapper—gathered in a ruined Italian monastery at … Continue reading Rudyard Kipling, Kim

Henry James, Hawthorne

Hawthorne by Henry James My rating: 5 of 5 stars This short 1879 book is Henry James's critical biography of the man who would at the time have been considered his most distinguished precursor in American fiction, Nathaniel Hawthorne. James was early in his career and was moreover writing Hawthorne as the only entry on … Continue reading Henry James, Hawthorne

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

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle My rating: 3 of 5 stars A few years ago, while studying the fin de siècle, I figured I should read some Sherlock Holmes, beyond whatever redacted-for-children versions I’d read when my age was in the single digits (remember Illustrated Classic Editions? I absolutely loved them—they used … Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens My rating: 4 of 5 stars [Spoilers below.] I wanted to revisit Dickens after reading Jeanette Winterson’s Art Objects. Like other British critics who want to keep alive the modernist tradition—see also Gabriel Josipovici and James Wood—Winterson is vexed by Dickens, wanting to dispatch him as Victorian relic and also … Continue reading Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Charlotte Brontë, Villette

Villette by Charlotte Brontë My rating: 5 of 5 stars Villette is the thickly-written, slowly-paced, and emotionally distant first-person narrative of Lucy Snowe, a young Englishwoman who goes to work as a teacher in a boarding school in the fictional titular city, a capital of Catholic Europe that stands in for the Brussels of Charlotte … Continue reading Charlotte Brontë, Villette