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Book Blix (Classic Reprint) by Frank Norris (2015-11-26)

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Blix (Classic Reprint) by Frank Norris (2015-11-26)

3.2 (1939)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Blix (Classic Reprint) by Frank Norris (2015-11-26).pdf | Language: UNKNOWN
    Frank Norris(Author)

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2.4 (12747)
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  • Frank Norris(Author)
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Review Text

  • By Karl Janssen on February 11, 2013

    The cryptically titled Blix is an early novel by the great American writer Frank Norris. Originally published in 1899, it is probably his least-known work. Later that same year he published the novel McTeague, a now highly regarded masterwork that was controversial for its time. While McTeague put Norris on the map as a force to be reckoned with in American letters, the unassuming Blix was most likely forgotten soon after its publication. Nevertheless, this obscure novel from the early years of Norris's brief but illustrious career displays ample evidence of his characteristic excellence as a storyteller.Travis Bessemer is an attractive young woman of 19, mature for her age and independent-minded for her time. She resides with her father, a widower, in a moderately well-off home in San Francisco, where she helps to raise her younger sister and brother. She enjoys the companionship of a 28-year-old suitor, Condy Rivers, who bears some resemblance to a young Frank Norris, in that he writes hack articles for a local paper while waiting for his big break as a fiction writer. Although they have been a couple for about eighteen months, Travis forces Condy to admit that the two don't really love each other, and that they should stop pretending they will be married some day and simply be friends. She also decides to renounce her membership in San Francisco society, turning her back on the debutante balls and society teas that have tediously occupied so much of her time. Determined to find her own means of enjoying life, she invites Condy along for the ride, as chums only. The two then embark on a series of unconventional adventures, such as spending a leisurely afternoon in a Chinese tea house or embarking on their first fishing trip. The more Travis enjoys her nonconformist lifestyle, the more independent she becomes, and, not surprisingly, the more she becomes her own woman, the more Condy falls in love with her.Though the subject matter of Blix is quite frivolous in comparison to the life-and-death struggles one encounters in Norris novels like The Octopus and McTeague, for what it is--a story of two young people enjoying one another's company--Blix is actually quite good. There's not a great deal of conflict here, but the reader finds a pleasant joy in sharing in the enthusiasm of the two main characters as they go about their humble adventures. To his credit, Norris treats this story with the same naturalistic precision that he imparts to all his novels. His vividly detailed descriptions of a sunset over San Francisco Bay, the bustling streets of Chinatown, or even the wares on display at a sporting goods store show an observational gift worthy of his literary idol Emile Zola. Here and there the Norris fan can find scenes that would go on to be repurposed and reused in later works, like a scene of wheat being loaded onto a cargo ship that reads like it's straight out of The Octopus. One major drawback to Blix is the annoying century-old slang which Condy spews forth with each and every sentence. A few chapters into the book, he gives Travis the nickname "Blix," apropos of nothing, and the reader is stuck with it for the rest of the book. The novel also unfortunately bears a weak final chapter, which is too convenient and conventional for the book that precedes it.In its entirety, however, Blix is a well-crafted, fun, and engaging little romance. It doesn't deliver the shock and awe of a Norris masterpiece, but those who have enjoyed his other works, or naturalist literature in general, won't regret plucking this novel from obscurity and giving it a try.

  • By Patrick Murtha on May 31, 2013

    Although it turns a little mushy at the end, this is generally such a superior example of romantic fiction as to make virtually all modern Hollywood rom-coms seem ridiculous. Norris describes the growing companionship between newspaperman and would-be novelist Condy Rivers, and doctor-to-be Travis Bessemer ("Blix"), in turn-of the-century San Francisco. They go beyond the social conventions of their day to simply have fun together. They treat each other as equals, and the educational and professional aspirations of the young woman are accepted without fuss. You can easily tell that this novel must have felt thoroughly fresh and contemporary when it was published, and it hasn't become musty in the years that have passed since then. Frank Norris's excellent prose style makes it a pleasure to read on a sentence-by-sentence basis. The Bay Area atmosphere is delightful, and a sub-plot about finding romance in the personal ads is neatly handled, introducing members of a different socio-economic class into the story-line.This is a very autobiographical novel. Norris was the same age as Condy when he wrote about him, and was at that time involved in a romance which led to his marriage shortly after the book appeared. "Blix" pleased no less stringent a judge than Willa Cather, then a young reporter in Nebraska. It deserves another look by discerning readers.

  • By Overthehill on May 8, 2015

    This takes place in San Francisco in the 1890's, and I live in SF, so I enjoyed the depiction of the city back then, but the writing is amateurish, and the story is thin. I suspect it was Norrris's first novel, published to take advantage of his later fame.

  • By Henry A. Filippone on August 13, 2014

    Good look at San Francisco in 1890's. A young gentleman and proper girl fall in love. Only men write real love stories:i,e, Bridges of Madison County.

  • By sari calvert on September 5, 2013

    A great turn of the 20th century tale of love patiently developed jn a time devoid of the emptiness of hookups and friends with benefits.


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