Reviews by Generosa Rader

The Financier

by Theodore Dreiser

"The Financier" is book 1 of "Trilogy of Desire" - a three-parter based on the remarkable life of the Chicago streetcar tycoon Charles Tyson Yerkes and composed of "The Financier" (1912), "The Titan" (1914), and "The Stoic", which was published posthumously in 1947. The Stoic is still under copyright and not available in the Public Domain.

Dreiser was an American novelist and journalist who pioneered the "naturalist school" and is known for portraying characters whose value lies not in their moral code, but in their persistence against all obstacles.

As in all his novels, Dreiser employs a unique, magnificent, gripping, gritty style of writing in which his characters confront many forces affecting the human condition - particularly intelligence (or the lack of it), drive, power, love, hate, friendship vs. hypocrisy, unrelenting desire to overcome odds at any cost, self-sacrifice, wealth and prestige. Dreiser hides nothing in his description of good, evil, moral immoral, legal, illegal, true love and a loveless marriage.

The main character in "The Financier" is 34 year old Frank Cowperwood, who through dedication, self-confidence and brilliant strategies, quickly establishes himself as a successful Banker/Broker in Philadelphia. In a short time, through his diligence, astuteness and instinct for business, he becomes a millionaire with a coterie of wealthy clients. He marries, has two children, and builds a very costly mansion with all the accoutrements which his position in high society dictates. He even has a young mistress whom he professes to love more than his wife.

Suddenly, misfortune strikes the Stock Exchange and Banks due to a variety of bad economic circumstances in Chicago and Philadelphia. Frank's political and business enemies set him up with false accusations of mis-managing City funds - he loses all his wealth. He goes on trial and is found guilty of embezzlement and larceny. He is sentenced to prison for 51 months. Read the story to see how Frank emerges from this scandal to re-establish his remarkable career in the business world and find happiness in his personal life.

The next book in this series is "The Titan", which follows Frank's career after prison.

So far I have read Dreiser's "Sister Carrie", "An American Tragedy" (under copyright in USA), and "The Financier". For me they are mesmerizing accounts of real people struggling against all odds for happiness and wealth, and succeeding in some cases, failing in others. I recommend Dreiser's novels without reservation.

I would give him 6 stars if this were possible.

Reviewed on 2009.06.08

A Romance of Two Worlds

by Marie Corelli

This is a most unusual book - Corelli's first novel - which centers on Corelli's beliefs in "The Electric Principles of Christianity", and "The Electric Origin of the Universe", with many references to the Holy Bible. She elaborates on these themes through the experiences of her main character, a young female pianist, who suffers from insomnia, depression and other maladies of mind and spirit - and is cured by a practitioner of "Electric Principles".

Corelli elaborates at length on astral projection, interactions with angels, and other mystical topics related to her beliefs. In her time, Corelli was a widely read, popular author of fiction. Today, many of her concepts would be considered "New Age Religion".

I had a difficult time wading through her precise, well written, but interminable descriptions of concepts which I simply did not fully understand nor accept as feasible. My rating should be 2 stars, but I'll be generous and give her 3 stars.

Reviewed on 2009.05.29

The Mystery of Cloomber

by Arthur Conan Doyle

I agree totally with the prior review. This is an excellent tale full of mystery, suspense, and the supernatural, written by an eminent author. The descriptions of the characters, their surroundings, and the inexplicable phenomena which pursue them, rivet the reader to the last page.

Reviewed on 2009.05.06

K

by Mary Roberts Rinehart

While I agree with some of the comments in the two preceding reviews, in my biased admittedly jaded view, this novel was too long, too predictable, and too ridiculous.
To me it is so improbable that K, the main character, a respected, famous surgeon, drops out of his profession at the peak of his career because he loses faith in his abilities. He emerges in "Small Town, America" as a non-entity drifter, working as a clerk. He then proceeds to act like a junior social worker, counseling and trying to "fix" everyone in sight who has mental conflicts, marital problems, un-wanted pregnancies, death in the family, moral issues, and the like. Since I am a Health Care Professional, I simply could not envision his character as portrayed - he lacked the steadfastness, personal strength, intelligence and professionalism that most physicians possess under all sorts of duress. When he finally emerges from his self-imposed exile, he does get Sidney, the woman he loves - but we knew he would from the start.

Reviewed on 2009.04.28

more reviews ->