Here's a comedic James, who deplored the media, about a match that may be ruined by a gossip column.
James >unintentionally< leaves our sympathies w Flack and Francie. Francie, our heroine, a beautiful but naive American girl, finds her silly marriage to an aristo threatened by what she innocently tells Flack, who pursues copy for a column (and loves Francie). It's a Comedy of Innocence that foreshadows the people-celebrity oriented trash that consumes ink/tv/online.
And there is, come to think of it, a not wholly unfair comparison to be made between the endless mesmerising coiling entangling fronds of elongated thought which waft and drift and never seem to quite conclude and when they do eventually it takes another hour to remember what the beginning of this long leisurely loblolly train of thought actually...
At the center of Jamess new world/old world theme is Francie (Fidelia) Dosson, the prettier of two American Dosson sisters travelling in Europe with their remarkably non-protective father. George Flack meanwhile, shockingly alone with Francie in the Bois de Boulogne, induces her to spill a true story about the Probert familys history of scandalous indiscretions. But the crucial question is whether the dispute dividing the two families will obliterate the plan of the Europeanized Gustave, as a Roman Catholic not easily shocked by corruption, to marry Francie, the new world innocent.
It's set in Paris, but aside from a trip to Saint-Germain and a ride through the Bois de Boulogne, we hardly see the city or its environs: it's a very interior book, set mostly in the hotel where Francie Dosson, her sister Delia, and their father have rooms, or in the studio where Francie has her portrait painted, or in the family home of Gaston Probert, Francie's husband-to-be. In addition to the Dossons and to Probert and his family, the key figure in the book is George Flack, who is a reporter for the Reverberator and also a suitor of Francie. Mr. Dosson is very rich, and Flack wants Francie's money; Probert, a sort of hack of a painter with money of his own from his family, wants her beauty. (Her sister, Delia, is the forceful one; Francie is described as having "an unformed voice and very little knowledge" (15).) So, right: the Dossons are in Paris.
"Echo" to zabawna i zdecydowanie zbyt krótka opowie o uroczej Amerykance, dwóch pretendentach do jej rki i intrydze tkanej grubymi nimi.
The usual suspects are gathered by Hank: innocent American girl, rich American father, old European society family, and modern villain upsetting everybody. Then he makes the mistake of taking Francie to a painter where she meets Gaston Probert - the heir of a French family so old that even the oldest society contacts of Flack can't place them.
Unfortunately, there just aren't any real people in this book, only brief sketches of unrealistic characters and situations which were evidently intended to be comical.
If this had been the first James I'd read, I might not have bothered with any more - as it is I shall forgive it as an error of judgement on the part of the master.
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.