Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review

While living in Fitzgerald, I read Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club as part of a book club lead by a church member. The story captivated me and so I was excited when liturgygeek bought a copy of The Poe Shadow.

The Poe Shadow tells the story of a young Baltimore lawyer determined to discover the truth of Edgar Alan Poe's death.  He becomes obsessed and travels to Paris to enlist the aid of Poe's model for the famous detective in The Murders in the Rue Morgue.  The story returns to Baltimore where it twists through cases of hidden identities and plot twists.  Along the way, the book explores various theories surrounding the death of Poe.

The first part of the book is a little slow getting started and it is marked by what appears to be an attempt to write in the style of the 19th Century.  Also the main character, Quientin Clark, comes off as obsessed to the point of irritating.  However, as the story moves on to Paris, and various theories surrounding Poe's death are explored, the plot really picks up.

I knew only the basic facts about Poe's death but that did not dampen my enjoyment of the book.  Instead I read the book not as someone who is trying to solve a mystery but as someone trying to gain a wider understanding of Poe.  If you want some Summer reading that also works out the brian muscle then I recommend The Poe Shadow.  

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