I really don’t know what to say about “The Greater Inclination”, but I know I have to say something, just to tell myself that I’ve read the book and leave a record of it, no matter how reluctant. I really like each of the stories, especially the first one about a muse’ complaint–she’s not a real muse, but a professed one. However I don’t know what to say about these stories. I probably can say I like them as well as I like Saki’s stories or Everlyn Waugh’s stories; I probably can say I feel that the life portrayed is so greatly different from my own that I can’t really relate very well. And this brings me back to the perpetual question–why do we read fictions? Is it because we want to relate and to find similarity to the characters? Or is it because we want to escape our reality and find a world totally unlike our own?
I like the language so much in this book that I feel a little guilty to point out something I don’t like about the author–her view about poverty is rather ridiculous and her view of how to get out of poverty is even more ridiculous. Without a maid, a narrow flight of stairs, reduced dividend, a summer spent in the sultry city without the relief of the cool air of the upper state New York are all considered poverty and poverty is equivalent to desperation. What the author considers poverty is actually the life, I mean the non-desperate life, of more than 90% of the people. Her imagined ways of getting out of poverty are usually a death of a wealthy relative, a selling of an old family painting, the invitation from an idle and rich acquaintance. Honest toil has never been part of her recipe for getting out of poverty. And somehow the author makes me feel that honest toil is really boring and unfit to be described by her crafty words and beautiful sentences.