Monday, August 30, 2010

The Poe Shadow

By:  Matthew Pearl

From Goodreads:  "Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poe's family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a crusade to salvage Poe's." "As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poe's demise, he discovers that the writer's last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are ignoring. Just when Poe's death seems destined to remain a mystery, inspiration strikes Quentin - in the form of Poe's own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poe's death: the real-life model for Poe's brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection." Quentin soon finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving international political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poe's final hours. In order to unchain his imperiled fate from Poe's, Quentin must himself turn master investigator.

Edgar Allen Poe fans will find this book interesting.  I found all the history of Baltimore to be quite fascinating and the events surrounding Poe's death to be rather intriguing.  It made me want to go out and reread all of Poe's work to see if I agreed with the author.

I did not really like the main character that much.  He was kind of weak.  I really didn't like the way he treated his fiancee.  He got a spine towards the end of the book, but for me it was a little too late.  However, if you can look past that little annoyance and focus on the rest of the story I think it's worth it.  I did like some of the other characters.  I loved Bonjour.  She cracked me up.

I listened to the audiobook of this book and I thought the reader did a very good job.  Various parts of this book took place in France and he adapted his accent quite well.  There was music in this one too and I don't like when there's music in audiobooks, but it was only at the end of the each book, so I guess it wasn't too bad.

In other Edgar Allen Poe news, John Cusack will be playing the famed author in an upcoming movie called Raven that sounds pretty interesting.


Man of la Books said...

Poe's stories, to this day, freak me out :)

Is it just me, or when reading his stuff you get the impression that the man was totally insane?

Sounds like an interesting book, by the way.

Autumn said...

I feel bad for him I suppose. He was obviously misunderstood during his time. This book, while I understand is made up, talks about some other issues which may well be valid who knows? Which again, makes him deserving of much sympathy.

....Petty Witter said...

Hi Autumn, many thanks for becoming a follower of Pen and Paper. I have only ever read part of one of Poe's stories - far too syrreal for my taste.

I have read an awful lot of things about this book and it seems to be one you either really love or really hate.

lisa :) said...

I've heard mixed things about this one, but I really do like Poe so I'll probably check it out eventually. I read The Dante Club and overall liked it but the pacing kind of dragged down the story at points so I haven't been too keen to pick up more of Pearl's writing. Glad to hear the audiobook was well done too, I wonder if listening to it instead of reading helps it to seem better paced.