Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Woman in White
by Wilkie Collins
I've finished my first classic! Thanks to so many other bloggers for their glowing comments about Wilkie Collins. Without your comments I may never have heard of or read any of his works. I loved this book and found myself comparing it to another gothic novel that I read recently, The Thirteenth Tale. I rated TTT a 5 as well, but I must confess that there is NO comparison. The Woman in White is masterfully written, drawing the reader's interest from the start and holding through every phase of the story.
The mystery of The Woman in White is told by various narrators, who each reveal to the reader only those parts of the story they know or have discovered. The main narrator is Walter Hartright, who is employed by the odiously hypochondiac, Mr. Fairlie to instruct his two nieces, the half-sisters Laura and Marion.
A couple of the characters are so well formed that I'm sure they will stay with me for years. Although I don't fully understand Marions intense devotion to Laura, she is a very likeable person. She is intellegent, loyal and charming. Another powerful figure is Count Fosco, who is a large jovial man with a lust and love of life that you cannot help liking him even if you don't trust him.
I do not want to discuss the book too much. I knew nothing about the storyline, the characters, or even the genre of The Woman in White and, so was pleasantly surprised on all accounts. I know there are several who are reading this for the classics challenge and I'm anxious to hear how others felt about it.