chapter  132
Unsigned review, St. James's Gazette, November 1899
Pages 1

Mr George Gissing may be relied on to give us novels marked by an exceptionally observant knowledge of life, and his new story is full of all those fine qualities which have distinguished its predecessors, together with a somewhat happier tone than Mr Gissing always manages to introduce into his sphere of thought. The Crown of Life is no study of poverty or struggling gentility; its atmosphere has not that some-·what depressing effect which repels some readers from Mr Gissing's best former work; and it is satisfactory to those who have always admired this writer's work to fmd that he moves just as easily in these less drab surroundings. Mr Gissing is a realist, for whom every touch of the real, every faithful reproduction of life as it is really lived is invested with romance; and the result is that all those who are repelled more by staginess and convention than by the ease with which 'things go wrong,' find in his novels a peculiar and abiding interest. Where things therefore 'come right' there is an additional pleasure-at least, for everybody but the confirmed lovers of a painful ending. In the present case things come right. Piers Otway is by no means a conventional hero of fiction; he is a very human man, with conspicuous failings; yet he had the stuff in him of which fme acts come, and, while presenting his defects and his mistakes, Mr Gissing makes us like him, and retain our interest in him all the time. If our hero is only