Based quite heavily on fact but equally using large dollops of artistic licence with the lives of Mary and Charles Lamb and the clever schemer William Ireland, this dark tale, set in nineteenth century London is, in my mind, one of Ackroyd’s most accessible and enjoyable. It’s back in his wonderful Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem ilk but without the murders. I loved it.
Comparison: Julian Barnes, Barry Unsworth, Robert Edric.
Similar this month: None but try Bernard Schlink for his writing.
At the centre of this intriguing, irresistible novel are the young Lambs: Charles, constrained by the tedium of his work as a clerk at the East India Company, taking refuge in a drink or three too many while spreading his wings as a young writer, and his clever, adoring sister Mary, confined by domesticity, an ailing, dotty father and a maddening mother- Into their lives comes William Ireland, an ambitious 17-year-old antiquarian and bookseller, anxious not only to impress his demanding showman of a father, but to make his mark on the literary world.
When Ireland turns up a document in the handwriting of Shakespeare himself, he takes Mary into his confidence - but soon scholars and actors alike are beating a path to the little bookshop in Holborn Passage. Touching and tragic, ingenious, funny and vividly alive, this is Ackroyd at the top of his form in a masterly retelling of a nineteenth-century drama which keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
|Publication date:||4th August 2005|
|Format:||Paperback (b Format)|
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Closing date: 30/05/2022
Peter Ackroyd is of course a Cockney visionary himself. He has written and presented a 3-part TV series for the BBC on London and few of his prize-winning biographies and novels stray far from his London obsessions - Turner was one of the subjects of a lecture that Ackroyd gave at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1993 (also televised) entitled London Luminaries and Cockney Visionaries; and Turner was also central to his Times article on Reflections on British art. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers, Thames: Sacred River and London: The Biography. He holds a CBE for ...More About Peter Ackroyd