An intriguing conceit, no? But John Hall brings it off convincingly in this series of contemporary letters (mostly emails) between Larry Dickerson, the bank worker, bent on getting as much money as he can from this stash, and Stephen Nicholls, the patient and helpful head of Christie's manuscript department in London. Nicholls leads Dickerson through the intricacies of the auction process but also helps him enter into the Victorian mind, a domain Dickerson eventually embraces with enthusiasm. That result is a book that is part suspense novel, because we wonder if Dickerson will finally decide to sell the letters or keep them for himself; part literary tour de force, because the old letters lead us into the thoughts of the foremost novelists of the period; and part humorous tale, because of Dickerson's personality. He is a character such as the department of heads at Christie's have seldom encountered, and we watch as this unschooled, bluff, blunt man emerges into a self-education Victorianist.
This is a book for lovers of Victorian literature, but it is also a bracing antidote for those less enthusiastic readers who may have found Dickens a little too melodramatic, Thackeray too allusive, Trollope too protean, and Hardy too pessimistic. For both kinds of readers Hall's book offers the hope of redemption, a thoroughly engrossing ramble through the literature of the enduring Victorian galaxy.
|Publisher:||Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
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Another 3 1/2. Loosley based on the life of the authors maternal Grandmother this is set in the early 1900's, starts out in Amsterdam, than Argentina and finally to the tenements in New York. Would have been a great read for woman's empowerment, this girl just never gave up.