’twas the week before christmas and all through the apartment, not a creature was stirring except for this varmint.
he jumped onto the bed and slapped me in the face and said – “reading the same book for a week? let’s pick up the pace!!”
he continued his abuse, kicking me in the spine, and eventually gave up any pretense of rhyme.
seriously – it took me nearly a week to finish this book. and it’s not entirely my fault – between baking and shopping and wrapping and being worn down to a nubbin from retail christmas overwork, there has just been little to no time for leisure reading. the times and places i usually carved out for such pursuits seemed to be replaced by power naps or quiet but sustained groaning as all the muscles in my legs locked up. plus the print was small. get off my lawn!
but enough about my problems, even though since i haven’t reviewed in a week, i assume you have all been missing me like crazy and want to know every last sensation i have experienced in our time apart.
here i am.
man, it took me a while to get into this book. at first, i was scratching my head saying, “why have all my friends given this such high ratings?? it is good, but it isn’t amazing….”
but finally, something clicked. and it was probably just my aforementioned distractions and abbreviated attention-span, and my compromised death-in-waking state for much of the week holding me back for the first half of the book.
because this book is very good. and this author has done his byron-scholarship, thank god.
the best thing about this book is that it actually does seem to interlock with the known facts of the relationship between shelley and byron and, to a lesser extent trelawney, polidori, and keats. and some hunt. and a mention of hobhouse.the facts are all there, and this book just fills in the gaps and shifts the motivations somewhat.
but byron is wonderful in it – not the cookie cutter evil genius he so frequently is in he hands of authors, or as the reverse – a misunderstood sweetie-pie hiding behind aggressive acts because he wants to be looooved. this was a perfect representation for me – an actual human-shaped character instead of an icon. even shelley is given nobility, in a way that makes me finally able to respect him. so, basically, what i am saying is that i have decided to treat this novel as true-biography, vampires and all. the poetry chosen as chapter-headers seems to support my decision; that there was this whole secret underworld to which the great poets belonged – enhancing their poetry and draining them of their humanity, coursing through the subtext of their words in coded confessions.
additionally, there are some wonderful gruesome moments, and i do appreciate an author who doesn’t mind putting his characters through the wringer, both physically and emotionally. no one gets out unscathed, and there are so many unexpected outcomes.still ashamed that it took me so long to read it, but i am very pleased otherwise. one of the better “books starring byron.”
thank you, tim powers.
and thank you, maureen!