The Eyes of the World (Book Review)
May 18, 2013
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Over here, a blogger is reading and reviewing Publisher’s Weekly’s best selling books for each of the past 100 years. What a great idea I thought. I read the first book. Or tried to anyway. I wrote about that effort. What ended it was the lack of a story that I cared about. The lack of characters that I cared about. Really, there was just nothing there for me to continue on.
I moved on to book #2 on the list. The Eyes of the World by Harold Bell Wright. Here’s Mr. Kahn’s review of the book. Turns out he and I had a different view of the book. I certainly agree with him about some things, but at the end of the day for me the key fact is this. Was there a story there that made me want to keep reading.
This is a morality tale, overwrought and overdone. There’s a love story. There’s evil. There’s good. There are confused artists. That’s what got me interested initially was the artist angle. At it’s core, the story addresses the challenge artists and writers face — do they cater to the masses and those who are willing to pay for their art? Or do they create and write what is true to their vision?
This is a part of an on-going conversation over at toasted-cheese.com. Do we write for the masses and for profit (i.e., Dan Brown who is subject to much scorn in most corners except where it counts for a lot of people — in his pocketbook)? Or do write the story we want to tell and the masses and profit be damned?
The Eyes of the World explores this issue. At some point also the characters became wrapped up in a tale that I wanted to see to the end. And, isn’t that what matters.
It’s interesting reading Mr. Kahn’s review. While the story would seem to be the author’s attempt to support the idea that artists should be true to their art, Mr. Kahn suggests that the author of this story was nothing more than a whore to the popular whim of the day.
On to book #3. 1915’s The Turmoil by Booth Tarkington