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The Lesson of the Master: 07/12/07

Sixteen Short Novels

I picked up Sixteen Short Novels at the September BookCrossing meeting last year. Yes; I went a week postpartum and Harriet went too. My goal is to read and review each of these short novels but if I do it all at once I'll only get this one massive book read for quite some time. Instead, I'll concentrate on each novel separately and count each one as its own book just as I did for the four novellas in Four Past Midnight. At that rate I figure I can read about three of these short novels a month and I should have the book ready for release by Harriet's first birthday.

Paul Overt as the name implies, wears his emotions on his sleeves. He's and arrogant writer with an insatiable literary crush on the "celebrated novelist" Henry St George (a stand in for the author, Henry James?). In his desire to know and be known by St George, Overt meets and schmoozes with St George's oh so modern and liberal wife, the kindly General Fancourt, Fancourt's literary minded daughter Miriam and finally the master himself, Henry St George. With all of these encounters, Overt is shocked at how different all of these people are from how he imagines them to be. It's the classic struggle of reality versus reputation.

So what is the lesson from the master? St George says that to be a superb writer, one must live life to the fullest and not be constrained by family commitments. Overt, having fallen in love with Miriam, leaves her to pursue his writing career. Did he make the right decision or did St George tell one more lie to his biggest fan? Read the novella to find out!

Comments (3)

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Comment #1: Friday, July, 13, 2007 at 09:37:34

Gabriella Hewitt

"This sounds like an impressive undertaking. I look forward to reading any comments you have on each of the short novels. Good luck! "

Comment #2: Sunday, July, 15, 2007 at 15:43:42


I bet it will be fun reading those short stories! I look forward to your "re-caps"!"

Comment #3: Sunday, July, 15, 2007 at 18:07:01


Thanks. I'm actually more than halfway through my "recaps". When I'm all finished, I'll post links to all of the reviews."

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