Alice in Bed
Overview - Arm yourself against my dawn, which may at any moment cast you and Harry into obscurity , Alice James writes her brother William in 1891. In Judith Hooper's magnificent novel, zingers such as this fly back and forth between the endlessly articulate and letter-writing Jameses, all of whom are geniuses at gossiping. Read more...
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More About Alice in Bed by Judith Hooper
Arm yourself against my dawn, which may at any moment cast you and Harry into obscurity
, Alice James writes her brother William in 1891. In Judith Hooper's magnificent novel, zingers such as this fly back and forth between the endlessly articulate and letter-writing Jameses, all of whom are geniuses at gossiping.
And the James family did, in fact, know everyone intellectually important on both sides of the Atlantic, but by the time we meet her in 1889, Alice has been sidelined and is lying in bed in Leamington, England, after taking London by storm.
We don't know what's wrong with Alice. No one does, though her brothers have inventive theories, and the best of medical science offers no help. So, with Alice in bed, we travel to London and Paris, where the James children spent part of their unusual childhood. We sit with her around the James family's dinner table, as she - the youngest and the only girl - listens to the intellectual elite of Boston, missing nothing. The book is accompanied by Hooper's Afterword,"What was Wrong with Alice?," an analysis of the varied psychological ills of the James family and Alice's own medical history.
- ISBN-13: 9781619025714
- ISBN-10: 161902571X
- Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
- Publish Date: October 2015
- Page Count: 325
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
Books > Fiction > Literary
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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In addition to the literary feast of recreated letters between Alice James and her famous brothers William and Henry, journalist Hoopers (Pieces of a Life) first novel portrays the exciting, frustrating, and perplexing private life of bed-ridden Alice. In Leamington, England, Alices illnesses develop alongside her longing for the entertaining, ambitious lives led by her two brothers. Her sardonic wit repels suitors, and her clear uninterest in marital servitude confuses her peers and parents, but she identifies with her older, academically gifted brothers, who adore her. As Alice languishes in domestic invisibility, Henry moves to Paris and makes fast friends with Ivan Turgenev, Gustave Flaubert, and Alices idol George Sand. A provocative James-family saga unfolds, as science and medicine teeter between mesmerism and rest cures in an England that predates modern medicine. Though Alices journal is kept a secret, she forewarns William of her rise to prominence, even as she is dying: Arm yourself against my dawn, which may at any moment cast you and Harry into obscurity. Although much of the dialogue falls flat, the true power of this novel is the exquisite languageboth in the James reproduced letters, and in Hoopers own impressive, shadow-quill renderings. (Nov.)