Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quick Thoughts: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy / A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

I love talking about books. Really, I do. Once I get started on the topic, it’s usually very difficult to get met to shut up. Some books come along, though, that render me speechless. It’s not that I disliked the aforementioned books. I just can’t think of anything to say about them.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The Scarlet Pimpernel is a crusader who, along with his band of Englishmen, rescues French royalists from Madame Guillotine during the French Revolution. His enemies try to find out who he is, and there are a lot of disguises, stolen documents, and traveling-by-night involved.

This book has been called “the first spy novel” quite often, so I guess my expectations were a little high. I was also expecting something along the lines of The Count of Monte Cristo, but The Scarlet Pimpernel was just, well, less epic. I was even more disappointed, because the edition I own features a swordfight on the cover. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there ISN’T A SINGLE SWORDFIGHT in the novel.

And the prose felt clumsy at times. There’s a character named Marguerite in the novel, and it was repeated over and over that she’s the cleverest woman in all of France. Yes, I get it. She’s wildly intelligent. You don’t have to repeat it every time she’s in a scene.

Overall, I liked The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I was more than a little disappointed. It just didn’t have as many intrigues as I expected.

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
I feel really guilty about not liking this one. A lot of bloggers absolutely love it, and I’ve heard from a ton of sources that it’s supposed to be a very important feminist work of literature. Now, I’m the kind of girl who’s really into all things feminism-related, but A Doll’s House just didn’t do anything for me.

The funny thing is I loved analyzing A Doll’s House, just picking apart the pieces and figuring out what the author is trying to say about a woman’s role in society. This is a problem, however, since I mainly read for entertainment… and I wasn’t very entertained. I thought the characters, especially Dr. Rank, were weird, and a couple of events seemed unexplainable for me.

I do intend to reread this in the near future, though. Something tells me that I’m going to like this more after a second reading—or maybe after seeing a live performance.


Zibilee said...

I just bought a copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel the other day, and now I am not so sure about reading it! I have also been reading a lot about A Doll's House, but so much has been said that I don't think I will read it. I even know the ending, which makes me MUCH less likely to pick it up.

Becky said...

I did enjoy Scarlet Pimpernel. But I actually loved the movie adaptations of it a lot more than the book itself.

Biblibio said...

Ah, A Doll's House. A literary conundrum if I ever read one. Personally, I thought it was fascinating. In general, I'm a big fan of Ibsen's plays (I just love how he builds his characters and his worlds) and though A Doll's House isn't my favorite, it has some power to it that makes it rather special. I know what you mean about A Doll's House not being particularly entertaining exactly, but it's a really fascinating and eye-opening play.

Trisha said...

I just re-read your post on Northanger Abbey, and then to read this one again gives me the giggles. I hope you are still blogging when you re-read it, so I know if your feelings about it change as they did with NA. :)


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