Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

The Rise of Silas Lapham is an 1884 novel by William Dean Howells, who is considered to be the father of American Realism. Which I would guess meant it took until 1884 before we started telling the truth in novels!   (US Edition)  (£1.02 UK Edition) 

Here is an AmazonUK Reader Review:
"I am sure that most people who read this book will do so because they are studying 19th century American fiction. But I would also recommend this to others for three reasons.Firstly, and most importantly for a satire, this is actually quite a funny novel. Secondly, the targets of its satire are diverse and still relevant today: class and status, the price to be paid both by society and individuals for economic progress, the value systems of capitalism."
I found this Reader Review on AmazonUS:
"I found that this novel, although it is about Boston in 1885 or so, a period more than 130 years ago, it is human, engrossing and ultimately moving. I found myself really drawn into the lives of the Lapham family and that of Tom Corey. Although what motivates them is dictated by what to me is a foreign culture (foreign by virtue of its remove in time) it seems psychologically sound."

Here is what the book has to say for itself!
Bartley hid a yawn over his note-book, and probably, if he could have spoken his mind, he would have suggested to Lapham that he was not there for the purpose of interviewing his ancestry. But Bartley had learned to practise a patience with his victims which he did not always feel, and to feign an interest in their digressions till he could bring them up with a round turn.

"I tell you," said Lapham, jabbing the point of his penknife into the writing-pad on the desk before him, "when I hear women complaining nowadays that their lives are stunted and empty, I want to tell 'em about my MOTHER'S life. I could paint it out for 'em."
I am guessing Barney will find a story to tell!

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