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The Bishop's Wife Hardcover – 1928
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The ample and poetic descriptions showcase the brilliant writing and for that alone it is a five star book. The reason that I give it four stars is it has a mocking tone for certain beliefs and it was difficult to read these exchanges as a person of faith and I did not love the book for this reason.
As for the conclusions in this work, I found myself answering these arguments by thinking over the words of Christ to the woman at the well (John 4). Having said this, the novella does its duty to explore important questions that thinking individuals might ponder. So many beliefs are illustrated in a mocking tone in this satire that almost everyone is bound to find something to offend in it, and yet the extremely felt despair of the main character, Julia, leads a reader to feel that her choice at the end is a sane one.
The interesting device in this book is the exploration of themes by using the drama of play dates between Julia's four year old daughter and two small boys. There the author unleashes the undercurrent of truth he wants the reader to see. This is a marvelous trick and if a reader ignores that the children transform into a mature viewpoint, so much of the exploration takes on a urgency in this conflict which is an echo of the main character's own inner conflict.
As for the reasons to read this book, in my opinion, this author has so many literary gifts it is an important work to read, although it might be an uncomfortable read.
My only complaint about this book was not the content, but the typos. It's bad enough to find them in the text, but to see obvious mistakes in the pop-up "About the Author" is just wrong. There wasn't enough of them for me to say don't buy this book, but enough to be annoying. Amazon, fix this!
The story is darker, sadder and laden with the kind of paternalistic sexism that was prevalent in the world in which the book was written. David Niven's bishop is shown the light by Dudley, Grant's urbane angel. The Angel of the novel is almost an heavenly robot, caring deeply but unable to act much beyond his heavenly programming. He sits as assistant/facilitator/observer as the the bishop abuses his loving, loyal wife not with violence or words, but with cold, repressed indfference. Life for his wife is empty of love, romance or warmth except for the bubbly presence of their daughter, begotten quite by chance some five years earlier during a rare and painfully guilt-laden moment of passion on the bishop's part, so cold, so brief and so unsatisfactory his unhappy wife barely noticed.
This could have been a very fine story but for the author's own apparent prejudices From the beginning you hope that the wife will speak up, tell the bishop he's a fathead and a lousy husband, lover and father. You pray that the angel will fall off his divine pedestal and make a grab for her, or at least give her self-righteous spouse a good talking to. In the author's favor, nothing so crass as a bedroom scene passes thorugh his typewriter. He tells his story without naming a single body part. So removed are we from the hearts and souls of this lost couple that we almost never hear them referred to by name.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I guess I was expecting something like the movie. This was Boring. There was no flair to it.Published 2 months ago by Pat Peregrin
Thought it was going to be like the movie...Nothing like it. Don't know how they derived the screenplay from this novel....they are nothing alike.. Was disappointed in the book.Published 5 months ago by T. H. Mills
While this is different from the movie - darker - I still enjoyed it - the movie is the best versionPublished 13 months ago by Nanna5
I don't know how they got such a good movie out of a boring book? But it was interesting to read such an old book from my parents days of yore.Published 15 months ago by Hair Ball
The personality of the characters was defined enough, and the reader can understand the personality of each one, but I didn't "fall in love" with, or find myself rooting,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Classy Grammy
I choose this rating because I falsely believed it to have some insight into the LDS religion due perhaps to a misleading review. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Blain Baird
Had watched the movie year after year at Christmastime. I really enjoyed it and will plan to make reading I year after year like the movie.Published 17 months ago by Anne M. Stalker