Henry James' short but much acclaimed suspense novel. Set in Venice, it's the story of an American editor's determination to acquire a collection of unpublished letters at any cost.
The letters are to the former mistress of a famous, deceased poet, Jeffrey Aspern. The mistress, Miss Bordereau is now very elderly, living modestly in a dilapidated old palazzo with her shy, awkward and uncomely niece Tita, an unwitting 'pawn' in the plot.
The strong characterizations of the three main players in the story make for a compelling story of lies, betrayal and psychological warfare. James' gift for building suspense is evident, the tension builds until the very last moment.
Henry James (1843–1916) was an American novelist, a 19th century master of literary realism, a movement to portray ordinary lives and situations devoid of romanticism or stylization.
Born in Manhattan to a prominent family, Henry James traveled extensively, and eventually settled in England. The cultural differences between Americans and Europeans were a favorite subject of his.
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- Serena Young