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Glasses   By: (1843-1916)

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Glasses by Henry James is a thought-provoking and eloquently written novel that delves into the complexities of human emotions, relationships, and societal expectations. Through the use of rich and vivid descriptions, James skillfully weaves a tale that captures the reader's attention from the very beginning.

Set in the backdrop of the late 19th century, the story follows the life of the protagonist, Ned, a young man who inherits a peculiar pair of glasses from his late uncle. These glasses possess the power to reveal the true nature of people around him; their innermost thoughts and desires are laid bare before his eyes. However, the catch is that once Ned has seen through these glasses, he can never unsee the truth.

As Ned starts to navigate the world with this newfound ability, James skillfully explores the theme of appearance versus reality. Through various encounters and interactions, the author brilliantly depicts the stark contrast between society's carefully crafted facades and the hidden truth that lies beneath. The exploration of human nature and the consequences of knowing the unfiltered truth make this book a compelling read.

James's writing style is both effortless and elegant, seamlessly combining beautiful prose with insightful introspection. The characters are well-developed, each with their own flaws, insecurities, and secrets, which add depth and complexity to the narrative. Ned's internal struggle, trying to reconcile the burden of knowing too much with the desire to remain ignorant, is particularly relatable and thought-provoking.

Furthermore, Glasses also delves into the themes of love and morality. As Ned's relationships with those around him evolve and change, the novel poses challenging questions about the nature of love and whether it can truly survive the truth. These philosophical dilemmas provide the reader with a captivating and emotionally charged journey.

While the pace of the novel may be slow at times, Henry James's focus on introspection and rich character development more than compensates for it. The author's ability to immerse the reader into the world of Ned and the people surrounding him is truly commendable.

In conclusion, Glasses by Henry James is a beautifully crafted novel that captivates readers with its exploration of the human condition. With its lyrical prose, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, this book is a must-read for those who appreciate literary fiction that delves deep into the complexities of the human soul.

First Page:



Yes indeed, I say to myself, pen in hand, I can keep hold of the thread and let it lead me back to the first impression. The little story is all there, I can touch it from point to point; for the thread, as I call it, is a row of coloured beads on a string. None of the beads are missing at least I think they're not: that's exactly what I shall amuse myself with finding out.

I had been all summer working hard in town and then had gone down to Folkestone for a blow. Art was long, I felt, and my holiday short; my mother was settled at Folkestone, and I paid her a visit when I could. I remember how on this occasion, after weeks in my stuffy studio with my nose on my palette, I sniffed up the clean salt air and cooled my eyes with the purple sea. The place was full of lodgings, and the lodgings were at that season full of people, people who had nothing to do but to stare at one another on the great flat down. There were thousands of little chairs and almost as many little Jews; and there was music in an open rotunda, over which the little Jews wagged their big noses. We all strolled to and fro and took pennyworths of rest; the long, level cliff top, edged in places with its iron rail, might have been the deck of a huge crowded ship. There were old folks in Bath chairs, and there was one dear chair, creeping to its last full stop, by the side of which I always walked... Continue reading book >>

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