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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What Henry Fielding Might Have Written, Had He Been On Speed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                                            Several decades back, determined to make my way through the English literary masters, I read "Tom Jones," by Henry Fielding.  I can say I am probably one of the few readers of it who did not have to read it for school--this was done on my own--and that I actually enjoyed it.

                                              While the story just plodded along, the language was gorgeous and kept me going.  But, toward the last hundred or more pages, I recall the book speeding up, like a silent movie played at the wrong speed.  To me, it seemed as though Fielding might have tired of writing the last story, and wanted to end it quickly.  Or maybe his editor did.

                                                I don't think Francis Spufford was on speed while writing "Golden Hill," but his story has, from the start, the breakneck pace that Fielding ended with.  From its opening sentence, straight out of Melville or Henry James, this novel of social and political intrigue in the New York of 1746, focusing on a character named Richard Smith, had my eyes popping out of my head with its surprising twists, turns, and plot revelations.  This ode to the eighteenth century novel honors its source, but stands as a surprise in this year's hitherto lack of contemporary fiction.  By the time I closed the cover on this one, I was so energized, darlings, I knew I had read a contender.

                                                 Make no mistake this is the real thing--one of the literary gems of this year.  Before long, you won't be able to find a copy, because everyone will be clamoring to read it.

                                                   I still maintain "someday they'll clamor for my drammer."   While waiting for that, make a beeline to buy this book, and prepared to be enthralled by the kind of picaresque work thought long out of style, but which Francis Spufford marvelously brings back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                    I mean, girls, you simply cannot go out of the house, if you haven't read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 comments:

Victoria Adams said...

So, what is the truth about Smith?
And about the novel's narrator??

The Raving Queen said...


Victoria,

I would really love to tell you,
but don't want to read it for other
readers. All I can say is Smith turns
out tobe far from what he themes (a CLUE--
think Jeanne Crain in "Pinky") and the
narrator turns out to someone who I never
thought was actually narrating.

Victoria Adams said...

Hmm intriguing. Guess I'll have to read it!