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The Great Good Place

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Dane picked out of his dim past a dozen halting similes. The sacred silent convent was one; another was the bright country-house. He did the place no outrage to liken it to an hotel; he permitted himself on occasion to feel it suggest a club. Such images, however, but flickered and went out--they lasted only long enough to light up the difference. An hotel without noise, a club without newspapers--when he turned his face to what it was "without" the view opened wide.

48 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1900

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About the author

Henry James

4,192 books3,359 followers
Henry James, OM (1843-1916), son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the encounter of America with Europe. His plots centered on personal relationships, the proper exercise of power in such relationships, and other moral questions. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allowed him to explore the phenomena of consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting.

James insisted that writers in Great Britain and America should be allowed the greatest freedom possible in presenting their view of the world, as French authors were. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to realistic fiction, and foreshadowed the modernist work of the twentieth century. An extraordinarily productive writer, in addition to his voluminous works of fiction he published articles and books of travel writing, biography, autobiography, and criticism,and wrote plays, some of which were performed during his lifetime with moderate success. His theatrical work is thought to have profoundly influenced his later novels and tales.

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5 stars
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3 stars
23 (52%)
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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books817 followers
October 25, 2014
I came to this story because the narrator of Greene's The Comedians reads it on a rainy night near the end of that novel. Before the novel concludes a "good place" is mentioned a couple more times in a different context, and my attention was piqued. To say why James' story fits with Greene's might be a spoiler to this long short story. (Though can there ever really be a spoiler for James where what happens is never the important thing?)

If you don't like James, you won't like this story. It's quintessential James with the interiority of "The Beast in the Jungle" and "The Jolly Corner" and with even less happening than in those two, though perhaps the sentences are not as lengthy or convoluted as in other of James' works.
Profile Image for Janelle.
1,216 reviews167 followers
March 21, 2021
This is a story for the overworked and stressed out. George Dane is such a man. The story starts in a confusing way, Dane himself appears confessed and even his servant suggests he is forgetful. Then a young man comes for breakfast and says he will complete Danes work. Dane goes to his “Great good place” which seems like a country club atmosphere with lots of other men in similar need of a break.
I was expecting something supernatural but that doesn’t happen. Still it’s a pleasant read.
Profile Image for Rachel.
691 reviews61 followers
September 20, 2011
Let's just be upfront: James just does not appeal to me. The wandering sentences, the indirectness... There was a lot that was vague in this story, and it bothered me that I had to spend so much time guessing at what was being talked about. In short, what I found unpleasant was mostly that which is characteristic of James; no, I will not be reading more of him unless under duress. Or class assignment.
Profile Image for Nina.
96 reviews
October 16, 2019
The absolute worst. I've never wanted to rip the pages out of a book until this story. Never again. I hate school.
Profile Image for Laura.
6,910 reviews565 followers
Want to read
July 2, 2018
4* The Turn of the Screw
3* The Jolly Corner
3* The Art of Fiction
3* Roderick Hudson
4* The American
4* The Beast in the Jungle
2* Lady Barbarina and Other Tales
3* The Madonna of the Future
4* A Little Tour in France
3* What Maisie Knew
4* The Aspern Papers
2* The Real Thing
2* The Bostonians
4* The Portrait of a Lady
4* The Wings of the Dove
4* The Ambassadors
3* Washington Square
4* Daisy Miller
TR The Tragic Muse
TR The Spoils of Poynton
TR Hawthorne
TR The Pupil
TR The Princess Casamassima
TR The Great Good Place
TR Nona Vincent
TR The Art of the Novel
TR The Middle Years
TR Ghost Stories
TR The Ivory Tower
TR Italian Hours
TR Nona Vincent
TR The Great Good Place

About Henry James:
3* Henry James: A Life in Letters
3* Henry James at Work
3* The Real Henry James
TR A Private Life of Henry James: Two Women & His Art
TR The Realists: Eight Portraits: Stendhal, Balzac, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Galdos, Henry James, Proust
TR The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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