The Mainland. E. L. Grant Watson

The Mainland.
E. L. Grant Watson
Alfred A. Knopf: 1917

The first half of this book is excellent. Grant Watson excels at a few things: intense psychological suspense, interesting nature writing, and mysticism. All of these are present and strong in the beginning of the book, and I had high hopes of a book as good as Lost Man.

After John’s heartbreak, however, the book turns into a sort of epic, rather than a detailed description of his attempts to get Mrs. Cray back &/or is utter annihilation. Instead, as John grows and matures (he was raised on an island with only his parents), the intensity of both his emotions & Watson’s writing lessens, and the detailed descriptions become more generalized (as John himself is learning to generalize.) Stylistically, this is successful, and it is still a very good novel, but I miss the intensity, the mystical response to nature, and the suspense, that was present in the first half. Grant Watson needed to have John be that intense as a youth in order to show his mellowing and maturing as an adult–perhaps I just miss my own intense youth…?