Monday, November 16, 2009

The Dante Club

I want to read The Last Dickens but when I was in the library I came across The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl's first novel so I decided to check it out.

Summary: As a group of America's most famous poets work to create the first American translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy against great pressure from the Harvard Corporation, a series of murders ripped from those very pages are committed. The club bands together to solve the mystery and protect Dante's reputation.

I have never read Dante but I am now much more interested in doing so. I know The Divine Comedy is on my (massive) TBR list but I will be making more of an effort to read it now. The historical detail and world created were fantastic-I felt like I was in Boston in 1865. I liked the characters a great deal, the narrative shifts to follow them around.

Again I did not figure out who the murderer was :-( I also had some difficulty distinguishing the characters. Lowell and Longfellow's names were too similar for me sometimes and many of the peripheral female characters had the same name (I realize this is historically accurate but it was hard for me). I also kept wanting Holmes to be either his son, the famous Supreme Court Justice, or Sherlock Holmes which is just weirdness on my part.

Overall: I would rate this 3 1/2 out of 5 stars; it was mostly enjoyable but not addicting. I definitely want to read Pearl's Dickens and Poe books. I may like them more as I am more familiar with those authors.

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