Sunday in a Boston park with Henry James, courtesy of Colm Tóibín

Just came home from an urban garden in Boston, where I was reading “The Master” — a book about Henry James (written by Colm Tóibín) — when I saw this marvelous essay of his in The Guardian on “a book that changed me.”

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Mr. Tóibin, in reference to the novel, The Ambassadors

…James, by his own great example, as he moved into his 60s, may show us how to keep the future “large and full and high”, as he wrote, and Strether, too, may in his response to fresh life show us that middle age may be more interesting and more open to suggestion than youth.

But the real way this novel changed my life was through its own complex textures, its own deep opposition to complacency, its own refusal to settle for anything small.

As we, the middle-aged ones, move along the last stretch, these may be the most important things to know and remember and believe in.


I embraced Henry James’s fight against complacency




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