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Showing posts from September, 2011

Nathaniel Hawthorne / Secret Sharer / Hunted Down

The Secret Sharer
by Joseph Conrad
Overall rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

What would you do if you found out your roommate is a wanted criminal?  This is the narrator's dilemma after he rescues a man, Leggatt, from the ocean and brings him aboard his ship.  The narrator finds that they share not only a similarity in rank, but a similarity in appearance; and this strange coincidence helps influence the narrator's tough decision.

I really enjoyed this short story--the writing style was amazing, as always, and the story itself was more figurative than literal.  Good read.


Hunted Down
by Charles Dickens
Overall rating:  4 out of 5 stars.
...my first impression of those people, founded on face and manner alone, was invariably true.  My mistake was in suffering them to come nearer to me and explain themselves away.So states Mr Sampson, 'Chief Manager of a Life Assurance Office', who believes in the truth of first impressions.  And one day, he has a particularly bad first-impression--tha…

Sylvie and Bruno, volume 1

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{Note:  I only just found out that Sylvie & Bruno is a two-volume book--I read vol. 1 and thought it was the entire story.  In any case, I'll be reviewing this in two parts, and treat vol. 2 as a sequel.}

Outland: a crazy, fantastical world, where the government is about to be taken over by a conniving official, his wife, and his ferociously unruly son.  It seems the wrong place for Sylvie and her brother, Bruno--two fairy-children whose loyal love keeps them together no matter what.  Meanwhile, real-world character Dr Arthur Forester has fallen in love with Lady Muriel Orme, a lady of sense and cheerful character.  Arthur is hesitant about expressing his feelings; and when the handsome, charismatic Captain Lindon comes to visit, Arthur fears he's lost all chances. 




By Leafnode (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno is much like the Alice books, highlighting nonsense and riddles, and featuring children as the main characters.  A…

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

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Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among "The Band''---to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed
Their steps---that just to fail as they, seemed best,
And all the doubt was now---should I be fit?And with these pessimistic thoughts, the narrator--Childe Roland--sets out on a byway to find the infamous Dark Tower, from which none of his friends ever returned.

This is a very odd poem, to my mind.  Robert Browning quotes a phrase from King Lear and uses it as both the title and the centerpiece, but in the most literal sense--bringing the hero no farther than the Dark Tower.  The imagery is gothic and gory..."Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit / Of mute despair, a suicidal throng / The river which had done them all the wrong"....."As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair / In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud / Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood"…