The Figure in the Carpet

The Figure in the Carpet

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The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James

Published:

1896

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The Figure in the Carpet

By

2
(1 Review)
"The narrator, whose name is never revealed, meets his favorite author and becomes entrenched in the mystery that is the figure in the carpet."--Wikipedia

Book Excerpt

TELL you, after all these years and labours?" There was something in the friendly reproach of this--jocosely exaggerated--that made me, as an ardent young seeker for truth, blush to the roots of my hair. I'm as much in the dark as ever, though I've grown used in a sense to my obtuseness; at that moment, however, Vereker's happy accent made me appear to myself, and probably to him, a rare dunce. I was on the point of exclaiming "Ah yes, don't tell me: for my honour, for that of the craft, don't!" when he went on in a manner that showed he had read my thought and had his own idea of the probability of our some day redeeming ourselves. "By my little point I mean--what shall I call it?--the particular thing I've written my books most FOR. Isn't there for every writer a particular thing of that sort, the thing that most makes him apply himself, the thing without the effort to achieve which he wouldn't write at all, the very passion of his passion, the part of the business in which, for him, the flame of art

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A budding literary critic is told by an eminent author that there is a secret running through all his books. The critic, then another critic friend and the friend's girlfriend become obsessed with the great man's secret.
Well, it's Henry James. That means the diction is elevated to the level of snootiness, the characters drop into French or Latin for no reason, and the sentences are convoluted beyond necessity. The characters are drab or boring, and the plot is uninteresting. Four people die, but not soon enough.