The American – By Henry James


Goodreads Synopsis: Christopher Newman, a ‘self-made’ American millionaire in France, falls in love with the beautiful aristocratic Claire de Bellegarde. Her family, however, taken aback by his brash American manner, rejects his proposal of marriage. When Newman discovers a guilty secret in the Bellegardes’ past, he confronts a moral dilemma: Should he expose them and thus gain his revenge? James’s masterly early work is at once a social comedy, a melodramatic romance and a realistic novel of manners. 

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I tried to read this book a couple years back, but finally last month I was able to get this book on audio.

This is a book I would love to read other people’s thoughts about, particularly women who have studied classical literature. I think I could really learn a lot. Because for me this book was both interesting and frustrating.   The American follows a self-made man in his 30’s in his travels of France and Europe, and also his story as he falls in love with an aristocratic.

Henry James’ writing style was easier for me to get into when I listened to the audiobook. The story was also easier to follow. I loved the witty conversations between characters. And even though most old books are rambly, I remembered how much I love the character development in them.

The main character, Christopher Newman is not a bad narrator but he is annoying character. Full of the ignorance, and strange and patriarchal ideas about women. I became frustrated with him fairly early on. And he is the reason that I decided not to listen to the entire book.

In the end I gave the book two stars.

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