Thursday, December 23, 2010

Alice Adams - by Booth Tarkington

Booth Tarkington must be one of the best of a pack of forgotten writers. He won one of his two Pulitzers for the novel I am reviewing.

One of my favorite books is Tarkington's Alice Adams. (UK edition) (Deutsch edition) She is a very sympathetic heroine and I put her right up there with Jane Austen's Lizzy.

Here is a taste. Alice goes to a party with her brother - who soon ditches her. She is left to pretend that she is waiting for her date. The book was published in 1921, but as Tarkington writes about people, not so much plot or place, this book is timeless.

She had now to practice an art that affords but a limited variety of methods, even to the expert: the art of seeming to have an escort or partner when there is none. The practitioner must imply, merely by expression and attitude, that the supposed companion has left her for only a few moments, that she herself has sent him upon an errand; and, if possible, the minds of observers must be directed toward a conclusion that this errand of her devising is an amusing one; at all events, she is alone temporarily and of choice, not deserted. She awaits a devoted man who may return at any instant.

Other people desired to sit in Alice's nook, but discovered her in occupancy. She had moved the vacant chair closer to her own, and she sat with her arm extended so that her hand, holding her lace kerchief, rested upon the back of this second chair, claiming it. Such a preemption, like that of a traveller's bag in the rack, was unquestionable; and, for additional evidence, sitting with her knees crossed, she kept one foot continuously moving a little, in cadence with the other, which tapped the floor. Moreover, she added a fine detail: her half-smile, with the under lip caught, seemed to struggle against repression, as if she found the service engaging her absent companion even more amusing than she would let him see when he returned: there was jovial intrigue of some sort afoot, evidently. Her eyes, beaming with secret fun, were averted from intruders, but sometimes, when couples approached, seeking possession of the nook, her thoughts about the absentee appeared to threaten her with outright laughter; and though one or two girls looked at her skeptically, as they turned away, their escorts felt no such doubts, and merely wondered what importantly funny affair Alice Adams was engaged in. She had learned to do it perfectly.
This review snippet amused me:
"My only negative thought about this book is that some characters especially the mother, repeated things a lot. The mother had several lines that she said at least 5 times throughout the book, and that was somewhat annoying. "
Obviously Booth Tarkington knows a thing or two about Mothers!

This blog is a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the US & UK Kindle. If you enjoy my suggestions, please tell your friends who read to give my blog a try. 
Join me on Twitter, FaceBook, or Pinterest.


For a nominal fee of 99 cents/pence, you can subscribe to this blog and have it automatically download on your Kindle. This gives you the convenience of being able to download the books directly to your Kindle, instead of downloading them to your computer and then transferring them to your Kindle. It also helps support my blog.

UK readers may go to this Amazon link to subscribe.  (Slightly more than half my readers are from the UK)

US readers may go to this Amazon link

Thank to all my readers, whether you subscribe on your Kindle or whether you read it online.  I love to get good reviews!  Who wouldn't?  Should you care to leave a review, follow these links for UK readers or US readers.
I'm reading: Alice Adams - by Booth TarkingtonTweet this!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.