Tag Archives: The Portrait of a Lady

Let’s Get Literal – The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

List Item: Read 100 of the greatest works of fiction
Progress: 64/100Title: The Portrait of a Lady
Author: Henry James
Year: 1881
Country: UK/USA

Why can I not just get a large number of wins in a row on this reading list. Going from one of the best novels I have read in a while to one that became such a chore to read. The synopsis of the novel seemed interesting enough, but it took to long to get anywhere – an issue I keep having with novels from before the 20th century. Also, what is it with all these novels built in the narrative in which women who go outside societal expectations are unreasonably punished?

I know that this makes me sound incredibly uncultured, but this is one of those novels that could do with an abridgement. I know they do it for audiobooks (and I would give an abridged audiobook of this a go) but why couldn’t I find that for the printed version. Its quite frustrating. Also, it’s not that I can’t get into longer books,but more needs to happen than continued talking in the rooms of the higher classes. Not necessarily an explosion or a civil war, but even the change of venue to Italy wasn’t enough to get my interest back.

Honestly, I find It difficult to write about something that ended up leaving me so disinterested, so I guess this is where I’ll leave it.

Well, I picked The Portrait of a Lady for one reason – because Henry James appears more than once on my list. This now leaves me feeling mildly annoyed that I am going to be spending my commuting time on another novel by them. It’s at times like this that make me question whether, once I finish this 100, whether I want to add in a new book list of not.