Finished: “The Old Wives’ Tale,” Arnold Bennett (#87)

by mostnovel

I enjoyed this book. I wouldn’t have guessed I would like a Victorian Era story about the lives of two English sisters, but I did. It was a circle-of-life type deal. Bennett did an amazing job of capturing the human condition and revealing underlying motivators, fears and ambitions that we probably all share. Pretty much everyone dies in this book, but I don’t think the reader is ever meant to feel sad about these deaths. Lots of interesting child-parent dynamics. Strangely, this book also made me want to succeed in business doing something I enjoy and own myself. I’m not sure if Bennett was aiming for this theme, but it left me thinking about living without regrets. Also some go-with-the-flow stuff. Good read.

Oh, one other thing: there was one part where Bennett was reflecting on the death of a character and the author slipped into the first person for just 2-3 sentences. It was so weird. I think the character that died was probably based on him or someone close to him or something. It was about 2/5 of the way through the book, and after that I was left with this feeling that I wasn’t alone reading the book. The author had made it known that he was there too, which was a really cool sensation for the rest of the book. But he never slipped back into the first person after those brief lines. Less is more. Odd and awesome reading experience.