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A Belated Guest (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)   By: (1837-1920)

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A Belated Guest by William Dean Howells is a captivating collection of short stories that masterfully explores the complexities of human relationships. The book introduces us to a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique struggles and desires.

One of the notable aspects of this book is Howells' ability to delve deep into the psyche of his characters, offering readers an intimate understanding of their thoughts and motivations. The author's vivid descriptions and attention to detail bring these characters to life, making us empathize with their hopes, fears, and secrets.

The stories in A Belated Guest are filled with unexpected twists and turns that keep readers engaged from beginning to end. Whether it is a chance encounter on a train, a lonely traveler seeking solace in a foreign land, or a love affair that defies societal norms, each narrative is poignant and thought-provoking.

Through these stories, Howells explores themes of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption. He skillfully captures the complexities of human emotions and the universal dilemmas that we all face in our lives. The author's keen observations of human nature allow him to analyze the intricacies of human relationships with sensitivity and depth.

In addition to the engaging storytelling, A Belated Guest also offers readers a glimpse into different social and cultural landscapes. From the bustling streets of New York City to the tranquil countryside of Europe, Howells paints vivid backdrops that enhance the narratives and transport readers to these captivating settings.

However, it is worth noting that some readers may find the pace of this book to be slower compared to contemporary literary works. Howells' writing style, with its attention to details and introspection, requires patience and a willingness to immerse oneself fully into the narrative.

Overall, A Belated Guest is a beautifully written collection that showcases William Dean Howells' mastery of character development, storytelling, and capturing the nuances of human relationships. It is a book that will leave readers contemplating their own lives and relationships long after they have turned the last page.

First Page:


by William Dean Howells


It is doubtful whether the survivor of any order of things finds compensation in the privilege, however undisputed by his contemporaries, of recording his memories of it. This is, in the first two or three instances, a pleasure. It is sweet to sit down, in the shade or by the fire, and recall names, looks, and tones from the past; and if the Absences thus entreated to become Presences are those of famous people, they lend to the fond historian a little of their lustre, in which he basks for the time with an agreeable sense of celebrity. But another time comes, and comes very soon, when the pensive pleasure changes to the pain of duty, and the precious privilege converts itself into a grievous obligation. You are unable to choose your company among those immortal shades; if one, why not another, where all seem to have a right to such gleams of this 'dolce lome' as your reminiscences can shed upon them? Then they gather so rapidly, as the years pass, in these pale realms, that one, if one continues to survive, is in danger of wearing out such welcome, great or small, as met ones recollections in the first two or three instances, if one does one's duty by each. People begin to say, and not without reason, in a world so hurried and wearied as this: "Ah, here he is again with his recollections!" Well, but if the recollections by some magical good fortune chance to concern such a contemporary of his as, say, Bret Harte, shall not he be partially justified, or at least excused?

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