Sunday, June 15, 2014

121. The Marble Faun

The Marble Faun
Nathaniel Hawthorne
1860
Around 315 pages












I am still confined to my bed, so I have to wait for people to bring me books based on my orders from the library or around my house.  Once they do, a scene plays out highly reminiscent of the goat being fed to the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.  Anyway, after a couple rereads I was able to get this book from my library friend.

Brace yourselves everyone: this novel is not boring.  I know, I know.  A Hawthorne novel that doesn't take years off your life?  You must think I am crazy.  Let me explain.

There are four main characters in this novel.  Hilda is the kind of annoying virgin that I always complain about on this blog, so I will not spend too much time on her.  Kenyon is a sculptor who is in love with her (for every perfect little princess we have to deal with here, there is some guy worshipping her in the background).  Miriam is a beautiful artist with a terrible secret.  She captures the attention of Donatello, who is one of those people who always seems to be enjoying himself.  Her secret follows her to Rome and Miriam must decide whether to protect her friends by keeping them (and consequently us) in the dark.

If Hawthorne's name wasn't stamped on the cover of this book, I would never have guessed that it was his.  Not only does it take place in Europe, but it was written in an incredibly over the top Romantic style.  I know his other works are considered Romantic, but they were nothing compared to this piece.  Some of the lines actually might induce vomiting in our more jaded readers, but I happen to like that kind of thing.

Wanting to know Miriam's secret was what really kept me reading this novel late into the night.  The "I Know What You Did Last Summer"-esque plot was really fun; I didn't know you had it in you, Nate.

I absolutely loved the themes and questions in this novel, particularly those on the nature of protection, but that might just be because of stuff I am going through right now.  Anyway, this is the only Hawthorne novel worth reading.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Hawthorne was living in Italy when he wrote this novel.

So many questions were unanswered in the book that he added a postscript in the second edition to clear a few of them up.

UP NEXT: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.  I should get this one up shortly since I have already read it.

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