Washington Square

So this year I vowed to myself that I would read more classics because I miss the language of classic books. I’m sure we all went through that teenage phase where we went through every classic novel written just to look smart. Ok maybe just me!


So this is my introduction to Henry James’ writing. Well my mother is a big fan of Henry James so growing up I watched the Bostonians and loads of other classics. I just picked this one up and couldn’t stop reading it at first. Without giving too much away its a story  of love, loss and inheritance. I know as soon as you hear the word inheritance you run away because  it’s the boring part of classic novels but it is in just about everyone. But I promise you in this novel it focuses more how it effects the relationships and interactions between people.

So it starts off unlike most classic novels about a non-pretty girl who is in the prime of her life and meets a charming young man and falls in love. But will it last is the question which rests on her father.

The characters in this short novel you go from loving to hating by the end of the novel but you do have a deep understanding for them and their situation. I have to say I loved the character of Catherine mainly because she reminded me of a real independent woman. Those characters are rare in classics usually they are prim princesses and a bit too high and mighty for me I like down to earth characters which is strange cause I read a lot of fantasy.

A huge concentration of the book is the relationship between the father, Dr Sloper and Catherine. I found this interesting most of the time but at times it felt a bit too rigid and lacking depth to it. Its a hard to imagine how the dynamic would have worked as relationships between men and women were not as relaxed as they are now.

The dynamic between the two lovers was limited in terms of the development of the relationship and at times it felt almost fake. I guess that was his point can love manifest itself so quickly. You feel sorry for them because everyone believes in true love. However, by the end of the book I felt so frustrated by the two of them I wanted to knock their heads together.

James’ writing style is interesting it was not about the description of sorroundings or even the characters that much. He put so much focus on dynamics of relationships, how people felt and what they were thinking. It was nice change from the usual focus on the surroundings in immense detail. Not much dialogue throughout which left a lot of discussions open to interpretation of the imagination which allowed me to picture the characters more easily.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and interesting read. However, the middle section felt as if it died in terms of developement of the characters and plot especially in regards to Catherine. It is a good read but not an essential classic as it felt it went nowhere and the ending reminded me a lot of Persausion.

If you have read it let me know what you think or if you have another classic suggestion for my classics binge reading?

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