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The Associate Hermits   By: (1834-1902)

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In "The Associate Hermits" by Frank Richard Stockton, readers are transported to a unique world where solitude intertwines with companionship in unexpected ways. The novel follows the journey of Arnold Kerlin, a man who retreats from society to seek solace in a life of seclusion. However, his plans take an unexpected turn when he encounters a group of fellow hermits who form an unlikely community.

Stockton masterfully weaves a narrative that explores the intricate dynamics of human relationships and the unforeseen consequences of isolation. Arnold's initial desire for solitude is understandable, as he yearns for a break from the complexities and demands of modern living. His decision to become a hermit initially seems like a liberating one, allowing him to embrace simplicity and find peace. But what sets this novel apart is Stockton's exploration of the implications of complete seclusion on an individual's mental and emotional well-being.

As Arnold delves deeper into his new life, he encounters other hermits who have also sought solace in isolation. This diverse group of characters adds depth and richness to the narrative, each representing a different motivation for their chosen solitude. Meticulously characterized, these hermits initially appear as obstacles to Arnold's search for seclusion, disrupting his desire for pure isolation. However, Stockton gradually reveals the true nature of their presence, as they become a source of wisdom, friendship, and even enlightenment for Arnold.

One of the novel's greatest strengths lies in Stockton's skillful portrayal of the complexity of human emotions. He effortlessly captures the conflicting desires and fears within Arnold as he oscillates between embracing his reclusive life and yearning for human connection. Through Arnold's internal struggles, Stockton prompts readers to reflect on their own search for balance between solitude and companionship.

Moreover, Stockton's prose is elegant and evocative, immersing readers in the vivid landscapes that serve as the backdrop to the hermits' journey. From lush forests to serene lakes, each setting is painted with remarkable detail, invoking a sense of tranquility and introspection. It is within these serene surroundings that the characters' innermost thoughts and emotions are unveiled, creating a captivating atmosphere throughout the novel.

While "The Associate Hermits" offers an engaging exploration of solitude, companionship, and their interplay, there are moments where the pacing could be improved. At times, the narrative slows, dwelling excessively on certain scenes or conversations. Nonetheless, this minor flaw does not diminish the overall impact of the story or the strength of Stockton's storytelling.

In conclusion, "The Associate Hermits" is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of human nature through the lens of solitude and companionship. Stockton's nuanced characters and eloquent prose imbue the narrative with depth and poignancy, inviting readers to reflect on their own choices and desires. With its captivating exploration of the human condition, this book is a worthy addition to any bookshelf.

First Page:

[Illustration: THE SUPPER [Page 37]]

THE ASSOCIATE HERMITS

By Frank R. Stockton

Author of "The Great Stone of Sardis"

With Illustrations by A. B. Frost

[Illustration]

NEW YORK AND LONDON HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

1900

BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

THE GREAT STONE OF SARDIS. A Novel. Illustrated by Peter Newell. Post 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 50.

"The Great Stone of Sardis" is as queer and preposterous as can be imagined, yet as plausible and real seeming as a legal document.... There is a treat in the book. Independent , N. Y.

A new and worthy example of Stockton's kindly, wholesome, original, and inexhaustible humor. Syracuse Post.

Narrated with a seriousness that gives the adventures a semblance of matters of fact. Through the narrative runs a love interest which Mr. Stockton manages with great skill. Washington Post.

NEW YORK AND LONDON: HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS.

Copyright, 1898, by Harper & Brothers.

All rights reserved.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE I. The Dawn of a Wedding journey 1 II. Enter Margery 7 III. Sadler's 15 IV. A Cataract of Information 23 V... Continue reading book >>




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