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« Codified | Main | Friday Cat Blogging »

April 27, 2006

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Caleb

Although my eye is much less expert, I thought the novel weakened appreciably after the switch to Marmee as the narrator. Like you, I thought one of the most interesting things about the first part of the novel was March's attempt to conceal the truths of war and his former life from the family. I found that an ingenious way of reworking the standard realist genre of "war is hell" novels by juxtaposing it directly against sentimental war novels.

But in the second part of the novel I felt like I had found myself back in the middle of a straightfowardly sentimental novel, March's ruminations about "ghosts" notwithstanding. The "ghosts" became less palpable to me after Marmee shows up, and I found a lot of the dialogue between March and Grace after his hospitalization pretty treacly.

A good novel, as you said, but not as good as it could have been. The first dozen pages were some of the most gripping first pages that I've read in a while though.

John Thomas McGuire

The Pulitzer Prize winners generally tend to be safe, and somewhat disappointing, choices. I base this on having read about two-thirds of the prize-winning novels. (There are a few exceptions, including Bernard Malamud's The Fixer, which I just finished.) I will read both March and E.L. Doctorow's book and see what one comes out the best.

sm

I am so tired of historical novels about plagues and heros/heroines with medical knowledge.

Though I forgive B. Hambly of *A Free Man of Color* etc.

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