Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review of the Day: Drood

 

Drood is Dan Simmons' creative reinterpretation of the literary rivalry between Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The two authors were friends and sometime collaborators from when they met in 1851 until Dickens' death in 1870. The factual friendship between the two is rich fodder for Simmons' invented tale.

Simmons takes this relationship and superimposes a fantastic story of mesmerism and murder involving a spooky underworld character called Drood. Drood may or may not be the abandoned son of an English nobleman, a high priest of ancient Egyptian religious rites, a savage mastermind of murder, or a figment of Collins' opium dreams.

The book goes on too long, the plot drags, characters disappear, and storylines fray – the same things that happen in some of Dickens' and Collins' overly long 19th century novels. But Simmons packs so much imagination into the story and maintains such an authentic tone that the book is compelling, no matter several overwrought or sluggish patches.

5 comments :

reviewsbylola said...

This sounds interesting, especially given the link with Dickens and Collins.

Barbara said...

"Overwrought" is the perfect word for some of the old novels, but if the story is a good one, I don't mind. I read Jane Eyre recently and slogged through many overwrought passages. :D

Christopher said...

I loved Simmons' Drood. I had pretty much just finished reading the entire Dickens and Collins oeuvres when it came out, and I think my brain was just 'primed' and ready for Drood. It was a brilliant novel for me. Have a great weekend! Cheers! Chris

Mystica said...

Intriguing!

Rose City Reader said...

reviewsbylola: Yes, learning about their lives was the best part of the book.

Barbara: Me too. I can handle overwrought if I like the story, and I liked this one.

Christopher: Perfect timing for your reading of Drood! I've been chipping away at Dickens and have good intentions about Collins, but it will be years and years until I can say I've finished them all. Congratulations!

Mystica: It is a really good book. Even when I was frustrated with parts of it, I enjoyed it. And looking back, I like it even more.

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