Friday, November 28, 2008

Review: The Magnificent Ambersons



The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkinton's 1919 Pulitzer Prize winner, is one of those books that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. I was afraid it was going to be heavy and dull, and it certainly wasn't. Still, it was not a favorite of mine.

It moved right along through the story of the demise of the once-prominent Amberson family and the growth of their Midwestern town into an industrial city. However, it moved along at such a clip, and with so little thematic subtlety, that it seemed like a book for young adults.

I'm not saying that Tarkington should have handled his themes with the heavy hand of Henry James, but a little of Edith Wharton's nuance or F. Scott Fitzgerald's precision would have added depth to the tale.

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