Book Review (well not really): The Pilgrim Hawk

The Pilgrim Hawk
Glenway Wescott

This was the fourth and final novella I was to read for the November Novella Challenge. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I must say I am not a huge fan of novellas. I finished this one last night right before midnight, so I finished the challenge, but I didn’t enjoy it like I thought I would. The good thing is all of the titles were in my TBR so I didn’t buy anything especially for this.

Despite being a very short 108 pages, I really struggled with The Pilgrim Hawk. There is nothing I can think of to write that is even remotely enlightening or interesting. So I will let the New York Review of Books (who published this edition) stand in for my review. It doesn’t mean I agree with their review, it just means I don’t care enough about the book to write my own. You might be interested to note on the NYRB link that Christopher Isherwood, an author I quite like, gave it a fulsome blurb.

Out of the four I read for the challenge I liked Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea the best. Strachey’s Cheeful Weather for a Wedding and Fitzgerald’s Bookshop are tied for second place. Both were interesting and had their moments, but didn’t necessarily satisfy. The Pilgrim Hawk comes in a distant fourth.

November Novella Challenge: 4 down, 0 to go.

8 thoughts on “Book Review (well not really): The Pilgrim Hawk

  1. Mary December 1, 2009 / 11:01 pm

    How can one not enjoy a book with a cover like that? The old book/cover thing may be true after all.



  2. C.B. James December 1, 2009 / 11:04 pm

    Well at least you finished the challenge. The NYRB books are a very mixed bunch. While I have found that they all have high levels of literary quality, they're not all what I'd describe as a good read.

    But I do love their covers. ;-)


  3. theliterarystew December 1, 2009 / 11:21 pm

    I agree that the NYRB books are a mixed bunch. I've only read a few…some were lovely and other were real duds that I just couldn't get through. I'm glad you gave an honest opinion of this one. I certainly won't be picking it up now.


  4. JoAnn December 2, 2009 / 7:21 am

    Well, at least the cover of this one must have provided some enjoyment. Congratulations on finishing the challenge.


  5. Thomas at My Porch December 2, 2009 / 8:43 am

    Mary: That is the very reason I bought it. Plus it had an intro by Michael Cunningham.

    CB: Odd how literary quality and good reading don't always go together.

    LitStew: I am glad NYRB exist but they definitely do seem hit or miss.

    M Denise C: He is isn't he.

    JoAnn: Not only was the cover nice, but I got it for $2 at a charity shop.


  6. savidgereads December 2, 2009 / 12:13 pm

    I only read one and then just couldnt do more. I will read some more at some point I just am not sure challenges work for me to be honest. Reading whims seem much more me, unless its book group but thats different.


  7. Thomas at My Porch December 3, 2009 / 10:12 am

    Simon: I have the same problem with challenges. I like making the list at the start, but then I get kind of annoyed by the constraints it puts on my choice of reading. Plus, who'd a thunk that novellas in general would feel like such a chore.


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