Kenneth Roberts in the Blogosphere: “Great Performances” on Lydia Bailey

Here are some kind words from Linda Aragoni, of Great Performances, in a post titled “Only Returning Vets Could Love Lydia” in reference to Kenneth Roberts’ novel Lydia Bailey.

Aragoni says two things that caught my attention.  First:

Hamlin says the things most soldiers just home from the front lines would like to say. I suspect his bitterness made Lydia Bailey a success among folks who had just come through World War II.

Interesting thought … something that never came to mind when reading the novel.  A second thing she says in her post is:

Today’s returning vets may have the same gripes, but they wouldn’t go for Roberts’ writing. All Roberts’ meticulous research can’t hide the implausible plot. And his flat, one-dimensional characters and paragraph-length sentences would sink the novel.

I must agree that Hamlin, the lead character in Lydia Bailey, is rather predictable and bland.  Like I’ve said before, Lydia Bailey is probably one of my least favorite novels of K.R. primarily because of the forced, predictable romance aspect; I think this goes hand in hand with her comment about the characters.

In regards to  her statement “paragraph-length sentences would sink the novel,” it’s sad to say, but she may be correct.  Today’s novels do not read like novels of only 60 years ago.  Paragraphs are very short and sentence structure is very simple.  This is sad, in my opinion, for I find Roberts’ style makes his novels come alive and real.  Today’s novels in general, well, leave much to be desired.

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