Weir of Hermiston

Weir of Hermiston

by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Weir of Hermiston ... 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
fieldnotes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By either account, it is a blessing that this novel remains unfinished. The two people who shared Stevenson¿s confidences, reveal endings that could have seriously degraded his effort. The ¿Weir of Hermiston¿ carries us to the point where whatever ¿inevitable mechanics¿ were about to bring the story into conformity with one genre or another. Then Stevenson died, suddenly, in Samoa. The first part of a tragedy is always the best and least punishing.The father and son who anchor the novel receive narrative sympathy and criticism in a pleasantly unresolved mixture. Even a number of the minor characters are thrown into varying lights as they are sketched into the happenings. This keeps things fresh and interesting. The reader is not allowed to get comfortable with his judgments or confident in his interpretations. Critics emphasize that this has to do with Stevenson¿s contention that the Scotch character is divided¿a theme he made most famous with ¿Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.¿His language also vacillates between two poles; one is the exquisitely crafted, psychologically aware 19th century prose that Stevenson had been refining throughout his career: ¿Clem and Gib, who were men exactly virtuous, swallowed the dose of Dand¿s irregularities as a kind of clog or drawback in the mysterious providence God affixed to bards;¿ ¿Her view of history was wholly artless, a design in snow and ink; upon the one side, tender innocents with psalms upon their lips; upon the other, the persecutors, booted, bloody-minded, flushed with wine.¿The other pole is Scots dialect (make sure your edition includes a glossary or explanatory footnotes): ¿Ye daft auld wife! A bonny figure I would be, palmering about in bauchles!¿ ¿You and your noansense! What do I want with a Christian faim¿ly? I want Christian broth! Get me a lass that can plain-boil a potato, if she was a whure off the streets.¿It is only moments of deep human connection and drama that prompt the rare combination of these opposite modes of communication. I do not intend to reveal the details of the story (betrayal, love, rivalry etc)¿it is finely wrought and believable, little more than one hundred pages. Absolutely worth an afternoon of reading.