THE ART OF THE NOVEL

Collection of Prefaces by Henry James

Can’t read it. What is it about Henry James? Can’t read him. Around the end of his life he was asked to write Prefaces to a new edition of his novels. He did. Each is about 10,000 words, sentences ground out and always similar to the last, the next – the next Preface, the last Preface. One paragraph covered two (2) pages! I stopped reading it before determining whether James also decided to economize on periods and make that paragraph one sentence. If a novelist can’t describe his own work in 2,000 words, he shouldn’t try 10,000 words.

Fortunately, I bought this book on the last day of a library book sale. I put it into a bag full of books and tapes and paid $1.00 to walk out.

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