Friday, December 4, 2009

The Woman in White

I've been meaning to read The Woman in White for a while now, and finally got around to it due to the Wilkie Collins mini-challenge. I also happened to read it near it's 150-year anniversary, which is rather fun. The Guardian ran a great article on it and how successful it was in it's time, rivaling his friend Dickens. Wouldn't it have been great to live in Victorian England and get to read these stories as they came out, eagerly waiting in anticipation for the next installment? Well, I suppose I wouldn't want to give up all the comforts of modern life, so maybe that doesn't sound so great. On a side note, when I was in the middle of this I started watching the new version of Doctor Who and watched the episode featuring Charles Dickens, which was quite fun. Great show.
Anyway, the point is to write about The Woman in White. I loved this book, but for some reason it took me longer than usual to read it. It might just be that I've been reading a lot of contemporary books the last few months and had to adjust to the massive use of adjectives in Victorian books, but I think it also had to do with the narrators. I think this is the oldest book I've read that used multiple narrators to tell the story in this type of format. I could definitely be wrong about that though. Collins switches from narrator to narrator as they enter and leave the story centering around the mystery of the woman in white. He did a good job of capturing the voices of the different characters, but the problem was that some of them annoyed me and I think that caused me to read slower in their parts.
As I mentioned, the story centers around the woman in white, making it one of the first mystery novels. It has a great story, but it sort of peters out at the end. I'm not sure if he had word count incentives/requirements like Dickens (often had length requirements for his serialized segments) and had to round out the end or what, but I found myself almost skimming the last few pages. Overall though, I really enjoyed and felt like it holds up well and it very readable for a modern audience. I would especially recommend it if you like mysteries or novels that use multiple points of view.


  1. I watched a movie called The Lady in White when I was a kid. It was creepy. But, I think it is probably not related to this book. I'm still kind of creeped out by the name though.

  2. I enjoyed this book. I didn't think of it as a mystery so much as just suspenseful -- more so than I anticipated! I found it very engaging.

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