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julianmeynell

Julian Meynell's Books

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Charlotte Bronte's Villette

Villette - A.S. Byatt, Charlotte Brontë, Ignes Sodre

Villette is Charlotte Bronte's last work.  It is like all Bronte novels difficult to understand.  Not a great deal happens in it and what does happen happens very slowly, too slowly at times.  The last third or so of the book was quite draggy at times.  The main character of the novel is Lucy Snowe who like her name can be both still but cold and icy.  She is often not a very likeable character and is deeply pessimistic.  She holds things back from the reader and also is focused on crushing her passions to the best of her ability. The other characters around her are also very well drawn.  They do not do much other than hook up in ways that are not very frustrated by events.  All in all not much happens and the book is a set of character studies.

These studies are brilliant and the writing is very beautiful and clever and intelligent.  All the same, it is clear to me that I will never love the book.  It is as if all the passion of the Bronte's writing has been frozen and  a pure clinical despair left behind.  It's a great book and a brilliant book but a book that is difficult to love.