Saturday, 25 February 2012
The Europeans by Henry James
The Europeans was James’s fourth novel which I enjoyed reading a good deal. It is easy going, short and fun to read without being over simplistic.
Felix and Eugenia are siblings from Europe who arrive in America to visit their relatives in the form of the New Englander Wentworth family. The Wentworth’s behave very graciously and welcome their foreign kin to live with them in one of the cottages on their property. What ensues is part romance, part comedy as the differences between the two cultures come to the fore.
The story is mostly set on the Wentworth estate which we rarely leave meaning the story is character driven with a lot of spoken dialogue which I always enjoy providing it’s done well (and Henry James does it well) the characters are developed thoroughly and drive the story along. There is also a good amount of humour.
It certainly couldn’t be described as an exciting book but it isn’t boring either as the characters are interesting with a fair amount of tension in parts. My main criticism, which is small, is the occasional use of French without any provided translation (which is becoming a literary bugbear of mine) but other than that it was an enjoyable read.
I recommend it as a good introduction to Henry James novels
Final verdict 3/5