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Old 04-29-2008, 07:03 PM   #1
Taylor514ce
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The Book of Air and Shadows

Has anyone read this book, by Michael Gruber? What did you think of it? I'm interested not only in the plot, but also the writing style, since I've not read this author before. Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:15 PM   #2
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i haven't, but the washington post reviewer quoted on amazon certainly makes me want to... (i was annoyed to see that, although the book claims you can "search inside", no excerpt is available. as in, you click and you get a lot of pages that all say "This page is not available." really frustrating.)
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
i haven't, but the washington post reviewer quoted on amazon certainly makes me want to... (i was annoyed to see that, although the book claims you can "search inside", no excerpt is available. as in, you click and you get a lot of pages that all say "This page is not available." really frustrating.)
The links work for me
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:10 AM   #4
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I just finished this book. Overall, I liked it more for the writing style, rich vocabulary and incredible metaphors and similes than for the plot.

Oh, the plot is wacky enough: old documents point to an undiscovered Shakespeare play. An IP lawyer, budding screenwriter, Jesuit street thug, Polish ex-spy and cryptographer, Russian-Jewish-Israeli mafia, and a mystery girl or two all race to find it. I was just a little tired of it about 2/3 the way through, however.

Then along would come a description about a leather seat "as soft as girls" and I'd be ready to read on!

Overall, it's worth a read.

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Old 05-14-2008, 11:48 AM   #5
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The trouble with lost Shakespeare plays is that they invariably get destroyed by the end of the novel.
Usually they get burnt, but not before the author has produced a tantalising extract, giving him/her the chance to display their skill at pastiche.
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:54 AM   #6
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I will not spoil this book by revealing the ending. The author does a nice job of explaining Shakespeare scholarship, the import of any document that reveals anything about Shakespeare himself, etc. An actual lost play, would it exist, is referred to as the "Most Valuable Portable Object in the World" in the book. There is interesting background in scams and forgeries of old documents, and the tension between "is it a scam, or not" is well-maintained until the very end. All of this background material is revealed by the characters in the normal course of very readable conversation, rather than as dry, tedious asides.

Spoiler: the ms was devoured by ninja squirrels.

P.S. Patricia, did I get the Kanji right?
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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Don't ask me, Taylor. I only did Japanese for a year and we stopped before kanji. The teacher tried us with hirigana instead. And now I've forgotten most of that.
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:32 PM   #8
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I just finished "The Book of Air and Shadows" yesterday. I did enjoy it, although it had just a few too many plot twists towards the end. Overall, I think Michael Gruber's new novel "The Forgery of Venus" is better. It has the same sort of style and subject matter, but the plotting is streamlined and there are fewer characters to keep track of.

"The Forgery of Venus" does for painting what "The Book of Air and Shadows" did for Jacobean manuscripts. Definitely worth your time.
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