My third book of the year was "The Poe Shadow" by Matthew Pearl. To sum up how I felt about this book: UGH. What a let-down!
I read Pearl's other two books, "The Dante Club" and "The Last Dickens" and loved both of them. This fell into the same category as the others, a historical novel, so I figured I would love this one as well. Boy, was I wrong!
"The Poe Shadow" talks of the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe and his fan, Quentin Clark, who is determined to find out what really happened to his favorite author and to protect Poe's already tarnished reputation. (Sounds cool, right?)
As it turns out, Clark is not a very likable character. He is obsessed with Poe's death and doesn't seem to care about anything else in his life. He ignores his work as a lawyer and neglects the girl he is engaged to marry without much turmoil. If he had in fact felt guilty about the people he turned his back on in real life while he was out chasing ghosts, I would have been much more sympathetic. Instead, I had a very hard time feeling sorry for him when all of his troubles came to a climax.
The book was repetitive, which did not help in trying to trudge through it. I did not need to read entire paragraphs over again, however, I was subjected to just that! Because it was so slow moving, I would go days without picking it up. I almost convinced myself, when I was not yet halfway through the book, to just give up on it. What kept me going was the curiosity of how Pearl would play out the circumstances of Poe's death and what a possible answer was to this nearly century and a half old mystery.
I'm not sure it was worth it.