Tuesday, October 3, 2006

All the King's Men

I came into this novel with a bad attitude. I was sure that I would dislike it, and dreaded its slow, 400+ pages. I thought it would be horrendous like The Last Hurrah, which I was forced to read in college. But it ended up being much better - a lot better, than I had expected. In fact, I liked it better than The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Appointment at Samarra, and Winesburg, Ohio, yet they all ranked above All the King's Men on the Modern Library list. Then again, it ranked higher - along with The Bridge of San Luis Rey (which I greatly disliked) - than On the Road, which should have been in the top 25 in my opnion. But they didn't ask my opinion.

My favorite part of AtKM is Jack's flashback to the night he and Anne almost consummated their relationship as teenagers. That scene - from making sandwiches in the kitchen to when his mother comes home unexpectedly was wonderful. The description of Anne undressing in his room was one of - if not the best of such scenes I've ever read. It was honest, realistic, and tender - something that was actually happening.