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Tag: classic literature

Review: Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”

I read Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises when I was a teenager, and it went completely over my head. I missed one of the key plot points and also failed to connect with the novel in a way that felt moving or meaningful. This time around, I think I understood enough to recognize the tremendously tragic [...]

Review: Gabriel García Márquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera”

This is the third novel I’ve read by Gabriel García Márquez, and I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the last. Love in the Time of Cholera is a beautifully-written book packed with a wealth of vibrant symbolism, but its thematic and interpersonal qualities are unmistakably corrupt. Márquez’s prose––expertly enlivened by Edith Grossman’s [...]

Review: Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

After a captivating but ultimately bitter encounter with Anna Karenina last year, I was worried that Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace would produce similar results. To my surprise and delight, however, War and Peace helped me finally understand why Tolstoy’s work occupies such an important position in literary history. Those determined enough to commit to this epic novel will discover a [...]

Review: George Eliot’s “Middlemarch”

“The right word is always a power, and communicates its definiteness to our action.” From time to time, I stumble across a novel that invites me to completely rediscover the inexhaustible elegance of the English language. George Eliot’s Middlemarch is one of those rare works. This exceptional story made me laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously, and rejuvenated [...]

Review: Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”

“All successful books are alike; each failed book fails in its own way.” So reads my ungainly rehashing of one of literature’s most famous opening lines. It takes a fair bit of temerity and not a little arrogance to posit that one of the great works of literary history is a failure, but that is [...]

Review: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Elective Affinities”

A proper analysis of this book can only be executed by readers with a thorough knowledge of early 19th-century literary tropes and gender roles. I am no such reader. To me, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Elective Affinities felt like a soap opera from a parallel universe (i.e. Europe’s romantic period). While containing some terrific turns [...]

Review: Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

Any novel should be cut a little slack to adjust for the historical context in which it was written. Even knowing this, I failed utterly in my attempt to give Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest a fair reading. Try as I might, I couldn’t dispense with my modern viewpoint enough to enjoy Kesey’s classic, [...]

Review: James Joyce’s “Ulysses”

Right so asking a guy like me to critique James Joyces Ulysses is like asking a blind man to critique a silent film Ive neither the know how nor the gumption to properly assess something I have little chance of understanding and would be skeptical of anyone who claimed to comprehend it comprehensively so rather [...]

Review: Alexandre Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo”

I don’t know what state the revenge narrative was in before The Count of Monte Cristo hit the scene, but this book remains a paragon of the genre nearly two centuries after publication. Alexandre Dumas’s classic is deeply concerned with the character of human happiness and suffering, and challenges readers to cherish what good fortune [...]

Review: John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”

This was my favorite novel throughout my adolescence, and is also probably the only book I’ve ever read three times. After a recent and extremely rewarding rereading of The Grapes of Wrath, I decided it was time to take up East of Eden once again. The book holds many memories, like that handful of albums [...]