What Maisie Knew, Henry James (or at least, what I know about this book…)

Daughter of divorced, irresponsible parents, Maisie is left to figure out the world almost on her own, surrounded by infidelity and complex relationships. Eventually, she finds those to confide in… but she doesn’t find it where you’d expect her to.


Okay, so I don’t like Henry James very much (and actually I’m not the only one!). What Maisie Knew is a book I’ve had to read for my uni course – I wouldn’t have read it otherwise.

I had previously read one of James’ novels and was disappointed. (It wad The Portrait of a Lady, and you can read my review on it here.) What Maisie Knew had a rather obvious plot (in which very little action actually takes place) and simple characters too, who I felt no connection with. The writing was often too convoluted to maintain a connection with them, although that may have been deliberate – most of the characters are not pleasant in any way!

I felt the writing was too full of narrative nonsense for me to be kept interested: it was difficult to understand due to the intense long length of the sentences, with very little relation to the (limited) action. It also severely stopped the flow of the story for me. (This may seem strange, as often long sentences cause a better flow to a story, but it changes slightly when you have to stop every other line in order to understand what is even being said!)

I don’t think I would have had the motivation to finish this book if it hadn’t been compulsory for my studies – but then again, I wouldn’t have started it in the first place!

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3 thoughts on “What Maisie Knew, Henry James (or at least, what I know about this book…)

  1. Great review- I can barely remember this book, even though I studied it, which says a lot- it clearly didn’t make a lasting impression. I reckon I’m probably with you- I wouldn’t have bothered with it if I didn’t have to. PS I love the title you used!

    Liked by 1 person

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