Thursday, July 21, 2011

Opening Sentence of the Day: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P__________ , in Kentucky.

-- Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

This is one of those classics I've never read, for one reason or another.  Even when I found the audiobook at the library several years ago, I loaded it on to my iPod and then ignored it.

But now's the time.  I am going to get this one finished, once and for all.  It shows up on several lists I'm working on: the College Board's Top 101, the Easton Press' 100 Greatest Books Ever, and the Daily Telegraph's 1899 List of 100 Best Novels in the World.

I'm now about a quarter of the way through it with mixed reactions.  One is how offensive it is to my modern sensibilities. I have a high tolerance for anachronistic literature, but Stowe's condescension is striking, no matter how well-intentioned.  My other reaction is how gosh darn entertaining this is.  Like any good potboiler, the action is non-stop.    

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