Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴

BOOK REVIEW: Autobiography of a Pocket-Handkerchief

Here’s a surprisingly enchanting novelette that speaks about society from the viewpoint of a (female) handkerchief, and it was written by James Fenimore Cooper, which piqued my interest.

This story is a satire on the subject of egotistically trying to achieve a higher social status, and was originally written as a series that was first published in Graham’s Magazine in 1843.

The story takes the reader on a double trans-Atlantic voyage, narrated by a fancy linen and lace handkerchief. It cleverly begins with a flax seed that grows, is harvested, carded, and made into a fine linen handkerchief. It continues with its sale, its adornment with beautiful handmade lace, and its travels between France and the United States and various owners.

I got a kick out of the premise of this story. The handkerchief is “female”, so I could “hear” the female voice narrating in a soothing way, and because the handkerchief was “born” in France, it has a French accent, in my mind. It’s a clever story-telling viewpoint.

The novelette is filled with French words and phrases; however, if the reader doesn’t know a bit of French, don’t despair! There are translations on each page. I don’t think it takes away from the story, but rather, it’s an enhancement.

I liked this story for Cooper’s writing style, the point of view, and bits of humor that work well in our twenty-first century society. The interaction between the handkerchief and a shirt was priceless, as were references to New Yorkers’ noses.

Some topics surpass centuries and societies. This one does, hands down.

“Autobiography of a Pocket-Handkerchief”
Author: James Fenimore Cooper
Publication date: 1843
Pages: 112

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


Author: Susan Marie Molloy

Hi, and welcome to my blog. I am a published writer, poet, photographer, freelance editor, artist, and career analyst. Growing up in a bilingual family helped me foster my love of languages. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and Master of Arts in History. My short stories, poetry, and photographs have been published in the Emerald Coast Review (18th and 19th editions), newspapers, and in many other publications. I enjoy Pre-Code films, photography, music, travelling, history, reading, and living each day to the fullest in The Oasis. My publications include Engaged (an anthology of my poems), The Crowd of Turin, God of the Sea: A Short Book of Poetry by the Seashore, Grapes Suzette and Other Poetic Epicurean Delights, Gallery Night, Indigo Fantasy, The Green Gloves, Puppy Love, Supreme Theater, and others. I am currently working on an anthology of my short stories, including a roman à clef tale, and am in collaboration with another artist in writing a novel. My books are available through Amazon. Check them out. Buy them. Read them. Send me your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

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