REVIEW: The Aspern Papers, audiobook

by Henry James, and Narrated by David Thorn

    A very well written and narrated audio book, set in Venice, Italy in 1888.
It delves into the greed (and fear?) of two strong-willed people and the listless, hopeless yearning of a third.  Just what would an eager literary critic do to get his hands on a packet of very valuable papers? How much would he pay, promise, lie?  And what he would NOT do?  Where would he draw the line?  These questions taunted me until the very end, and even beyond.
There is beauty, hope, and a secluded garden.  The players are a lazy-shrewd, silver-tongued man, a conniving old woman with lips sealed as tight as a coffen, and a sheltered and naive middle-aged spinster. The battle, the bargaining, is deceitfully pleasant at times, gutter dirty at others.  All the players think they will win. Who will?
The end is freeing, or at least it was after I had time to think about it.  I seriously didn’t want to leave that city, the old palace, and the characters Henry James created so well.
I recommend “The Aspern Papers” when you are in a thoughtful mood. Definately not a beach read.

 

 

 

 

JH

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