After her parents' bitter divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself shuttled between her selfish mother and vain father, who value her only as a means for provoking each other. And when both take lovers and remarry, Maisie - solitary, observant and wise beyond her years - is drawn into an increasingly entangled adult world of intrigue and sexual betrayal, until she is finally compelled to choose her own future. Published in 1897 when Henry James was becoming increasingly experimental with narrative technique and fascinated by the idea of the child's-eye view, "What Maisie Knew" is a subtle, intricate yet devastating portrayal of an innocent adrift in a corrupt society.
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In the aftermath of an acrimonious divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself shuttled back and forth between her father and mother, both of them amoral and monstrously self-involved. After her parents find new spouses—and after the new spouses find themselves drawn to each other, as much for Maisie's sake as their own—Maisie feels even more misplaced. As she observes the world of adults and their adulteries, and finds herself in the position to decide her own fate, Henry James's rendering of her child's-eye view—his depiction of what precisely Maisie knows—draws the reader into this scathing satire of social mores and insightful meditation on familial dependence. This Modern Library Paperback Classic of James's 1897 masterpiece is set from the definitive 1908 New York Edition.
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