This is a timeless and unputdownable novel about a marriage that becomes unbearable because of a husband’s pathological jealousy and his wife’s rightful insistence that he has no reason to be jealous. But he knew he was right, and she knew she was right, so the couple separates with disastrous results. But I am equally intrigued by the various subplots (which aren’t quite subplots, because some get equal time) about other marriages being made, especially a worldly young woman’s reluctant falling in love with a penny journalist. If only she could bring herself to marry the rich Mr. Glascock! And what about the two spinsters pushing thirty who are both courting the affections of the vicar?
I started HKHWR last week after finishing Cousin Henry (which I wrote about here) and smugly planned to finish the 800 pages today.
Turns out it is 930 pages, so my calculations were wrong.
Meanwhile, you can read an essay about He Knew He Was Right at the TLS, “Reading Trollope in the Age of Trump.”
1. Check out Howard Jacobson’s essay, “Why the Novel Matters,” at the TLS.
I don’t mind you thinking me a scaremonger. Scaremongering has a respectable history. The fact that we’re still here after so many prophecies of doom doesn’t, to my mind, prove the prophets were mistaken – only that the worst hasn’t happened yet. That state of “savage torpor”, for example, into which Wordsworth saw the “discriminating powers of our mind” descending – did he get that so wrong? Wrong about the torpid, maybe. We are too hectic to be torpid. We troll, wear trainers and fulminate. But is “savage” so wide of the mark? Wordsworth was describing what made his age unpropitious to poetry. Need I state what makes our age unpropitious to the novel?
2. Obama has posted his Summer Reading list at Facebook. He writes, “This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories.” And he lists six books by African authors, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
3. At Tor you can read “Five SFF Books in Which Art Matters,” by C. E. Polk.
I love art and illustration. My childhood obsession with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood led to hours with art history texts. I’d need a fortnight just to properly do the Met. And so I love it when SFF books engage with art and culture, providing insight into the history of the world, their aesthetic, and their values. There are plenty of literary works revolving around art, and artists, but SFF provides a number of stories where art matters—to the story, to its society, and to its character.