Customer Reviews for

The Poe Shadow

Average Rating 3
( 69 )
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(17)

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(13)

2 Star

(12)

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(12)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

EXCELLENT! historical fiction written in style of the time perio

EXCELLENT! historical fiction written in style of the time period-love those Victorians! very interesting explanations using known details.

posted by catsnart on March 17, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Good only for illumination into Poe's demise

I generally agree with the other reviewers here -- Matthew Pearl seems to be far more of a self-congratulatory academic than a good fiction writer, and you can tell that he has had only Ivy League law school training, for a good (i.e., practical) practicing attorney wou...
I generally agree with the other reviewers here -- Matthew Pearl seems to be far more of a self-congratulatory academic than a good fiction writer, and you can tell that he has had only Ivy League law school training, for a good (i.e., practical) practicing attorney would not use such byzantine and overwrought language and plot construction to get his point across. (I guess this is what happens when academics accept you into their circle; you are in a no-lose situation, as I can't for the life of me understand how this man can teach a class in copyright law at Harvard Law School without even passing the bar.) Nevertheless, there was much fascinating information presented in this novel even for more-than-casual students of Edgar Allan Poe and the circumstances surrounding his death, which in the end made the whole reading experience ultimately fruitful. This is by far not a novel I would recommend for everyone, for many different reasons, but for those looking for a precis of the evidence to date surrounding the death of Edgar Allan Poe, you could read much worse.

posted by PatrickZJD on January 25, 2009

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good only for illumination into Poe's demise

    I generally agree with the other reviewers here -- Matthew Pearl seems to be far more of a self-congratulatory academic than a good fiction writer, and you can tell that he has had only Ivy League law school training, for a good (i.e., practical) practicing attorney would not use such byzantine and overwrought language and plot construction to get his point across. (I guess this is what happens when academics accept you into their circle; you are in a no-lose situation, as I can't for the life of me understand how this man can teach a class in copyright law at Harvard Law School without even passing the bar.) Nevertheless, there was much fascinating information presented in this novel even for more-than-casual students of Edgar Allan Poe and the circumstances surrounding his death, which in the end made the whole reading experience ultimately fruitful. This is by far not a novel I would recommend for everyone, for many different reasons, but for those looking for a precis of the evidence to date surrounding the death of Edgar Allan Poe, you could read much worse.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    EXCELLENT! historical fiction written in style of the time perio

    EXCELLENT! historical fiction written in style of the time period-love those Victorians!
    very interesting explanations using known details.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    I did not like this book. It seemed slow and a little all over t

    I did not like this book. It seemed slow and a little all over the place. This is the 3rd book in my life that I never finished. The worst thing about that is that I bout it on type for a road trip. I took it out and put in an old favorite. 

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Would make Poe proud

    Matthew Pearl gives us a plausible explanation for Poe's missing five days. Though he spends a bit too much time in France, ultimately this became one of my favorite books on the gothic master

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The only thing you'll miss is a good nap

    The plot moved like molasses in January in Alaska. The characters are unbelievable, unlikable, and pretentious. The narrator had lost all credibility about half way through. Half of my book club didn't finish the book. Only one of us liked it. The ending is trite and unbelievable.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "The Poe Shadow"

    The year is 1849 and Edgar Allen Poe is dead. Quentin Clark considered himself Mr. Poe's lawyer and is very upset at the manner of death and the persecution he perceived laid on Mr. Poe. Why wasn't Poe able to start the magazine he wanted? Why were so few people at his funeral and his grave left unmarked? Quentin sets off to find the "real" cause and manner of death, leaving everything important behind. His engagement and his law practice are in jeopardy. But he doesn't see it. Quentin sees nothing but his desire to clear Poe's name and reputation. He does need help however, and enlists the aid of the man he believes is a man Poe used in his stories. But, who is the real Dupin? Who wanted Poe dead? Who wants Quentin to stop looking?

    The premise of this fictional work is a good one, but I found myself bogged down with mundane things too many times. I love to read mysteries and wanted to love this one. It is good for those who love extraneous details and "stop and go" storytelling. I will look for more work by Matthew Pearl.

    My favorite quote is: '"I see," he replied knowingly and with a tone of some satisfaction. "Mr. Clark, the most dangerous temptation in life is to forget to tend to your own business -- you must learn to respect yourself enough to preserve your own interests. If pursuing the causes of others -- even in charity -- prevents your own happiness, you will be left with nothing.' pg. 220

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2009

    A disappointment after The Dante Club

    After being mesmerized by The Dante Club, I was eager to read another literary novel by Matthew Pearl. The Poe Shadow is such a disappointment. I had to force myself to finish it. I t seems to go over and over the basic facts of Poe's death with little illumination in each retelling.
    I found the basic premise and motivation of the main character to be totally unbelievable. Quentin Clark's throwing away of his career and love life in a bizarre obsession with Poe's death is unfathomable. His travels to Paris on the most flimsy of motivations and his allegiance to one Dupin inspiration over another is incomprehensible. All adding up to a main character I could not force myself to care about.
    I haven't given up on Matthew Pearl yet, though, and will buy The Last Dickens when it comes out in paperback-only because The Dante Club was such a great read.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty Good

    I fully enjoyed the book. I believe a the fact that I was already Edgae Allen Poe fan, to begin with, was a big help in liking the book! If you are a Poe fan I do reccomend it. Doesn't really teach you anything new, but it is a good fictional read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2009

    Thoughtful listening

    I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. But I've been interested in Poe's writing since I was very young, and thought it sounded like an interesting concept. Some parts seemed to go slowly, but the reader has a wonderful voice and was able to carry off the different characters very well.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Painfully dull

    After forcing myself, for almost two weeks, to push through this book, I gave up. There is no plot to speak of, the main character is dull, the the writing is labored. This was a huge disappointment after The Dante Club.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I couldn't get through it....

    because I kept falling asleep! I love Poe and thought the idea for this book was very interesting and creative. I was so excited to read it, and ended up being so disappointed. I prefer Poe's supernatural and poetic works. If you enjoy his police mysteries, this work may be more appealing to you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    Not what I thought but interesting...

    I am a HUGE fan of Edgar Allen Poe and this book was not what I thought it was but still interesting. It did keep my attention but not in the way I thought. I was happy I purchased this book and have even recommended it to a friend who is also a fan of Poe. Hope they enjoy it like I did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    pretty good but stilted

    that the book is good is not a question but the victorian language makes for a bit of a slow read. the characters are fairly believable but i found myself slowing down to try and keep up with parts of the story. i needed to go back and reread bits to make sense of them and found myself losing interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    Liked it!

    I didn't love the story, I liked it. The charaters and the plot was good. Needed more movement through the story. It seemed to drag on alittle.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Try something else

    A difficult read. I quit after 50 pages.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    I was captivated by Poe Shadow!

    The Poe shadow was a wonderful novel that took you back into a great literary era. The novel was full of intrigue and drama with a rich classical foundation. I loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    Dragged on and on and on and on and...

    Like other reviewers, I had enjoyed Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club. I think the big thing missing from The Poe Shadow was excitement. The book plodded along and then stretched out ad nauseam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2008

    Very Disappointing

    The title interested me 'as a Poe fan' but I couldn't bring myself to finish this book in its entirety. The overwriting and scene switching made me nauseous. It gets nowhere fast and then it just drags on and on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    Sophmore Slump...

    Unfortunately, this book is like a band that had an amazing first record, and then followed it up with a disappointing second one. Quoting from the reviewer below, it 'is' hard to believe this is from the same author of The Dante Club. It felt rushed, in the sense that he felt he had to get another book out. He does admit to writing this on his tour of TDC. Pearl even gave away the plot and ending of 'Murders in the Rue Morgue,' which he then has an advertisement on the reverse back cover. Too bad. I though The Dante Club was an amazing historical fiction novel and this had so much potential, but it just doesn't cut it. If you want to read a great story about Poe, read Baynard's A Pale Blue Eye.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2007

    hard work

    Reading this book is too much like work. I really had to force myself to continue to read it. I enjoy books about different eras, I learned next to nothing about Baltimore in 1850 from this book. The plot is virtually non-existant. I had to reread many passages to understand what the author was trying to convey. What a waste of time and money.

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