I’m in the
middle of at the beginning of What Maisie Knew, and I can’t help but think that it’s awkwardly written. The way James uses adverbs seeming so stiff… (some sort of innuendo there? probable). I don’t think it’s so much a question of my winnowing attention span, although there is that to be taken into account, but I sure do go in for the short ones, & tend to bail on the long ones.
The Middle Passage and The Old Man and the Sea are the only books that awed me. Paul Metcalf’s work is a boon to humanity, and a treasure trove.
* * *
What Maisie Knew (1897) – Henry James
A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer (1920) – Pierre Mac Orlan (trans. Napoleon Jeffries, 2013)
The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – Ernest Hemingway
The Middle Passage: A Triptych of Commodities (1976) – Paul Metcalf
The Elements of Typographic Style, 3rd ed. (2004) – Robert Bringhurst (a weird mix of deathly boring, rarely beautiful, & historically interesting — good, but not a page-turner by any means)
Ravel (2006) – Jean Echenoz (trans. Linda Coverdale, 2010)
Landscape in Landscape – Gerald Murnane (failed to get past p. 30…)