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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  1. sounds like a quick, pleasant read, but not one that sticks around in "reading memories." I'll still look forward to reading it. Thanks for the review.

  2. Yes, it didn't do much for me. All I can say is that it didn't bore me. If it hadn't been on the Modern Library Top 100 list and the Pulitzer winner list, I probably would not have bothered.

    I think Main Street and Babbit by Sinclair Lewis addressed the same themes but have more staying power.


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