Sunday, 8 June 2014
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.
Preamble. The days of an author doing a student's homework by stating what a story is about before it even begins are over. But this is what can be expected from novels from this time period. Too bad that style isn't in vogue today, as it's easy to do - you know ramble on about the book, filling it up with a respectable and profitable word count.
If the machinery of the Law could be depended on to fathom every case of suspicion, and to conduct every process of inquiry, with moderate assistance only from the lubricating influences of oil of gold, the events which fill these pages might have claimed their share of the public attention in a Court of Justice.
More preamble. It looks like the PR person helped write this opening. It's a plug, pure and simple. Of course, it's better to tell a story rather than tell about a story, but that wasn't really invented until Cat in the Hat.
Chapter 2 shows less promise:
It was the last day of July. The long hot summer was drawing to a close; and we, the weary pilgrims of the London pavement, were beginning to think of the cloud-shadows on the corn-fields, and the autumn breezes on the sea-shore.
A historic weather report.
First thing said:
"I don't know what would have happened, Walter."
This is part of the series: the top 100 novels from Daniel S. Burt's book called Novel 100, the top 100 novels of all time. There is debate of course as to what should be on that list, but his opinions are as good as any. The Woman in White comes in at number 95.