The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

(Book 128) Our zoom to discuss the book was actually scheduled after our brief, in-person cookie exchange this year, but I wanted to save the best for last. I have waited too long to add this summary to our web site, my brain hasn’t been the same since late October and I’ve misplaced the notes I scribbled. Those are all my excuses for how short this summary will be. A number of the girls couldn’t make the zoom, and Karen commented that she would look forward to hearing the commentary. I guess she will be the most disappointed by my lapse. Though the book has some remarkable writing, those of us at the meeting were not at all attracted to any of its characters. Milly Theale, the doomed American heiress is generally lackluster, while Kate Croy and Merton Densher, the couple who conspire to obtain her fortune are somewhat despicable. I was also insanely bothered by the character’s downright refusal to give a straight answer. The only passage I recall mentioning for its deftness was: “When Milly smiled it was a public event—when she didn’t it was a chapter of history.”

Rest assured that my New Year’s Resolution will be to take notes and post a meeting summary in a strictly timely fashion for each of our meetings of 2021!