Berenice

Berenice

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(1 Review)
Berenice by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Published:

1907

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Berenice

By

1
(1 Review)
Oppenheim in a new vein--the story of the love of a novelist of high ideals for an actress.

Book Excerpt

on.

"Let us," he said, "have some supper somewhere."

Matravers shook his head.

"I really have a great deal of work to do," he said, "and I must write this notice for the Day. I think that I will go straight home."

Ellison thrust his arm through his companion's, and called a hansom.

"It will only take us half an hour," he declared, "and we will go to one of the fashionable places. You will be amused! Come! It all enters, you know, into your revised scheme of life--the attainment of a fuller and more catholic knowledge of your fellow-creatures. We will see our fellow-creatures en fête."

Matravers suffered himself to be persuaded. They drove to a restaurant close at hand, and stood for a moment at the entrance looking for seats. The room was crowded.

"I will go," Ellison said, "and find the director. He knows me well, and he will find me a table."

[Illustration: Her companion, who was intent upon the wine list, noticed nothing]

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What a horrid piece of melodramatic bilge this book is!

I read at least one of Oppenheim's books years back—General Besserley's Puzzle Box, which had no merit to speak of. Recently, however, I picked up Jeanne of the Marshes, and despite a few quibbles, enjoyed it, so I set myself to read more.

Oppenheim has a few unfortunate eccentricities that show up in almost all his works. Very much middle-class himself, he is fascinated by the aristocracy, his characters all too often are Lady This, Sir That and Duke Whatsisname, while the ordinary folks are mere props, introduced only to bring in the "tea equipage" or help with the main character's "toilette" as he changes from morning to afternoon or evening wear.

The life portrayed is often vastly epicurean, nothing but wine and brandy are drunk, the women are all slim and beautiful, the men (no matter how often they faint) not only handsome and perfectly clothed but athletic.

Berenice is a pathetic example of his weaknesses, with a precious hero of unparalleled literary bent sacrificing himself in order to salvage the soul of a morally-imperfect heroine. Oy!
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