10 December 2009

The Book of Air and Shadows

This is technically a DNF (did not finish).

I've been sitting on the hard cover of The Book of Air and Shadows for a while (since May 2007, actually) and the story seemed interesting to start. A lost Shakespeare manuscript ('tis the vogue for mysteries these days it seems), mobsters, creepy lawyers, paleography...seemed interesting.  So I thought.

Well, I forced myself to read the first 100 pages (through chapter 5) then did something I never do - I read the very last chapter. It was really more like an epilogue and I was completely unimpressed. There are two narrators (Jake-the-IP-lawyer narrates in the first person and there's a third-person narration for every scene not involving Jake) as well as the Bracegirdle "letters" which supposedly point toward the existence of a missing Shakespeare MS about Mary Queen of Scots. The story ping-pongs around and doesn't really go anywhere in those first 5 chapters to make me want to read more.

Also, those Bracegirdle letters don't seem very real to me. I've had to read letters from the English Civil War/Restoration period - those of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, John Dryden, Samuel Pepys - as well as the work of Robert Boyle and John Milton and when I compare the letters to what I've read the "made-up" ones strike a false note (a sore point with me, if you're going to have made-up sources they better look real which takes more than just atrocious spelling).

I'm not sure what the deal is with me and Shakespeare mysteries because I loathed Interred With Their Bones as well.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad I am not alone. I am up to about page 70 and am ready to throw the book at a wall - it's for my face to face bookclub but I just don't think I can cope with another word of it - I cam online to see what others thought and found mostly gushing reviews so it's nice to see at least one person share my opinion :)