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Generally regarded as the masterpiece of his early writing The Portrait of a Lady has young American Isabel inheriting a large amount of money and gaining freedom to travel the continent. Here she falls under the influence of two expatriate Americans who want her money. The work has met continuing critical acclaim and remains the most popular of James' longer works.
The work opens with an unnamed narrator listening to the reading of a manuscript written many years ago by a now dead young governess. The governess relates that soon after arriving to work in the house she learns that her predecessor had died under mysterious circumstances. As the tale unfolds the reader has room to doubt the reality of the evil that the governess feels is approaching.
In Utopia (1516) Thomas More concocts a place, an island, with what he considers to be desirable religious, social and political practices - a place very unlike where he actually lived. It is a place "like Plato's Republic, only better". Utopia is often discussed for its political ideas and is seen as the seed for communist political thought, it is a great piece of work that continues to generate political discussion. Thought provoking through the ages.
"Kessel proves himself again a master not just of science fiction, but also of the modern short story, crafting compelling characters and following them through plots that never fail to please - or to defy prediction."
"Kessel's blend of dark humor and reality-stretching scenarios is consistently mesmerizing."
"One of the best collections of the year."
"These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch."
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