Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Moonstone (thoughts)

I finished the first book on my list of classics last night, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Firstly, I felt rather silly, because I was definitely under the impression that Wilkie Collins was a woman. I'm not sure why I thought that; Wilkie seems like a girly name (i.e.-Muffin) to me. At least I've realized my mistake!

On to the book. The premise is pretty simple; a very large diamond goes missing. Who stole it and why? The narrative is more complex: there are five actual narrators and extended letters from a couple more. This seems to be the book's strength as well as its downfall. I very much enjoyed the story when it was told me a likeable narrator. However, I didn't enjoy it all with two of the narrators; it was difficult to keep myself going through those sections.

I enjoyed the high-drama of the book, with its beautiful, histronic heiress, love-sick continental, mysterious traveller, the loyal old servant, etc. While I wouldn't call the characters 'fleshed out,' they all portrayed their stereotypes to a T. After all, sometimes stereotypes are refreshing! If you enjoy English literature of this time period (nineteenth century), you'll probably enjoy The Moonstone.

As much as I enjoyed it while I was reading it, I don't think that I'd reread it. In general, I'll happily reread a book over and over, but only if I enjoy the characters. After all, if the plot is the strength, what's the point of rereading it? You already know it! But strong characters, on the other hand, are like old friends: it's fun to drop in on them every once in awhile.

So, I feel that The Moonstone was a satisfactory beginning to the classics challenge. I feel fulfilled for having read it, I enjoyed reading it, and now I can put it aside. lol

Favorite Passages:

There, coming out on us from among the hills, was a bright-eyed young gentleman, dressed in a beautiful fawn-colored suit, with gloves and hat to match, witha rose in his button-hole, and a smile on his face that might have set the Shivering Sand itself smiling at him in return. (28)

"After believing in him as I did, after loving him as I did, after thinking of him by day, and dreaming of him by night-he wonders I didn't charge him with his disgrace the first time we met: "My heart's darling, you are a Thief! My hero whom I love and honour, you have crept into my room under cover of the night, and stolen my Diamond!" That is what I ought to have said. You villain, you mean, mean, mean villain, I would have lost fifty diamonds, rather than see your face lying to me, as I see it lying now!" (389)

2 comments:

iliana said...

Congrats on finishing your first Classic challenge book. I really want to read this book. Sounds like something I'd enjoy. Meanwhile, I'm seriously falling behind on my challenge reads :)

Sarah said...

Good on you for actually reading a challenge book. I haven't accomplished that yet. I really enjoyed The Moonstone for its characters, in particular Gabriel, Miss Clack, Godfrey, Rachael and Franklin. The plot is very much of its time- the mystery explaination is appaling and as for the indian avangers! I think anyone who reads it needs to be aware it's a Victorian melodrama, and enjoy it as such.