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A London Life and Other Tales

Henry James

Book Overview: 

A collection of short stories set around daily life in London.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . good-bye at the other members of the circle, took a more formal leave of Mr. Wendover—expressed the hope, as an American girl does in such a case, that they should see him again. Selina asked him to come and dine three days later; which was as much as to say that relations might be suspended till then. Mr. Wendover took it so, and having accepted the invitation he departed at the same time as Laura. He passed out of the house with her and in the street she asked him which way he was going. He was too tender, but she liked him; he appeared not to deal in chaff and that was a change that relieved her—she had so often had to pay out that coin when she felt wretchedly poor. She hoped he would ask her leave to go with her the way she was going—and this not on particular but on general grounds. It would be American, it[Pg 72] would remind her of old times; she should like him to be as American as that. There was no reason for her taking so quick an interest in. . . Read More

Community Reviews

What is axiomatic in James' work is that individuals perform acts of dubious morality, but no one considers themselves immoral. James' loves the interplay of individual, self-seeking action against society's standards, church morality and the individual's and other's own moral view.
It has long been

These short stories are really comparative studies of societies and especially of the status of women in fin de siecle society in London and Paris, versus in Boston and New York. Details of place surely resonate, but the London of which James wrote is very nearly ghosted by now.

A decent collection. The first and second story (A London Life and The Patagonia) are the best; The Liar feels over written, but the last 'Mrs Temperly', about a wealthy American widow with three beautiful daughters, who settles in Paris and wants to marry them to princes or dukes, strikes a cord wi