Book Review: “Reuben Sachs” (1888) by Amy Levy

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Reuben Sachs is the second Persephone Books work to be featured on this website and I was very excited to get my hands on it. Social satire written by a young Victorian woman? Yes please! Oscar Wilde himself had nothing but praise for the book:

Its directness, its uncompromising truths, its depth of feeling, and, above all, its absence of any single superfluous word, make it, in some sort, a classic. Like all [Levy's] best work it is sad, but the sadness is by no means morbid. The strong undertone of moral earnestness, never preached, gives a stability and force to the vivid portraiture, and prevents the satiric touches from degenerating into mere malice. Truly, the book is an achievement.

I am not quite as impressed. To me, Reuben Sachs is absolutely fascinating in theory, but lacks a certain something in its execution.

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