Penguin Classics, 2007
Traveling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? When she strikes up an intimate friendship with an urbane young Italian, her flat refusal to observe the codes of respectable behavior leave her perilously exposed. In Daisy Miller James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces.My Thoughts:
One of the best known of Henry James's short novels, Daisy Miller first appeared in 1878. I read it earlier this year, for the Back to the Classics Challenge. And the first thought that comes to mind is: Why have I never read Daisy Miller before now? I'm pretty sure it must have been assigned in one of my college English classes, or maybe even in high school. Well, for whatever reason -- this was my first time reading it.
I've always liked Henry James, but his longer works are so daunting. This novella is just the right length -- took me a couple of days to finish, because I wanted to savor every word. A bit of a surprise ending -- at least one I wasn't expecting. I don't want to say too much about the plot so that others can have that same feeling of fresh discovery. Definitely a book I'd recommend to all readers.
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● Qualifies for the following reading challenges: Back to the Classics Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge.