Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Do you like The Book of Air and Shadows ?
Join aNobii to see if your friends read it, and discover similar books!
A distinguished Shakespearean scholar found tortured to death . . .
A lost manuscript and its secrets buried for centuries . . .
An encrypted map that leads to incalculable wealth . . .
The Washington Post called Michael Gruber's previous work "a miracle of intelligent fiction and among the essential novels of recent years." Now comes his most intellectually provocative and compulsively readable novel yet.
Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually gets to read them, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare. Does it matter, when you read, if the person who wrote still lives?
These are the words of Jake Mishkin, whose seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer—or killers—unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for four hundred years. In a frantic race from New York to England and Switzerland, Jake finds himself matching wits with a shadowy figure who seems to anticipate his every move. What at first seems like a thrilling puzzle waiting to be deciphered soon turns into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, where no one—not family, not friends, not lovers—is to be trusted.
Moving between twenty-first-century America and seventeenth-century England, The Book of Air and Shadows is a modern thriller that brilliantly re-creates William Shakespeare's life at the turn of the seventeenth century and combines an ingenious and intricately layered plot with a devastating portrait of a contemporary man on the brink of self-discovery . . . or self-destruction.
This was a very enjoyable read, especially in the final third when it gathered pace. In between chapters were sections written in olde (Shakespearean!) English which I found heavy going, thouugh was able to get the general drift of it sufficiently well to see it's relevance as background to the plot.
I enjoyed, for the most part, Gruber's writing style, a sort of "of the cuff" conversational one, though at times his overuse of swear words I found a bit nauseous, though I guess it may be par for the course in the underworld in which parts of the story see set.... Or maybe it's written that way because that's how we perceive that world to operate. Interesting thought in the context of an element of the book's storyline.
A very good thriller with lots of twists and turns along the way making for an enjoyable read.
RonYY said on Sep 30, 2010, 10:40
Prendete Il Codice Da Vinci, o qualunque altro titolo analogo. Togliete le parti più esoteriche e quelle più violente, per far scemare all'incirca del 40% l'azione "azione", e aggiungentevi invece più parti biografiche, storiche e tecniche; sostituite a Leonardo Shakespeare ed ecco, più o meno avete il succo di questo romanzo.
Non c'è che dire, alcune pagine sono affascinanti, soprattutto quello sullo studio dei manoscritti, e le biografie dei vari personaggi li rendono un po' più umani rispetto a quelli di tanti libri del genere. Pur tuttavia, nel complesso le situazioni restano inverosimili e sopra le righe, tutto è risolto sempre a colpi di soldoni e di schiaffoni (due fattori sempre poco contestabili, per quanto improbabili), i colpi di scena decisamente esagerati e via via che ci si avvia verso il finale tutto è sempre più tirato, pasticciato e onirico, come nella "migliore" tradizione.
Insomma, ciò che dovrebbe impressionarci finisce solo per far sorridere, o sbadigliare. Il pretenzioso tomo di 500 pagine si riduce al solito brodino. Ma viene da pensare che davvero allora scrivere un libro così richiede più impegno fisico per partorire qualcosa di originale anche in meno pagine.
Per fortuna loro, per questi autori esistono sempre i momenti- spiaggia o i momenti-febbre.
Fatamorgana said on Nov 13, 2009, 11:57
When I saw "Air and Shadows" on the bookshelf I was instantly hooked. I am a fan of historical fiction, and was disappointed when I read the back cover to find that it wasn't really historical fiction at all. Still, I was smitten. A visit to the local library later had me eagerly bringing this intriguing work on vacation with me. Shortly after cracking the cover, I hit the wall...
While many on this site complain about the self-involved unlikability of the main character, I felt that was a symptom of the self-important style in which the author writes. The prose, itself, was a real turn off. Couple that with the laughable 17th century manuscript reprinted as chapter ends, and I'm frankly amazed I chose to finish the book.
The story is a slog - in large part thanks to the writing style - complicated by the fact that the author overreached in his efforts to develop deep characters. The story took so many diversions to provide sometimes excessive backstory, it seemed as if Mr Gruber was paid by the page. I really wanted to hate this book as the smug style continuously wore on me. However, I found that once the story finally got going (300+ pages into it), I started to enjoy it.
So, a good premise weighed down by indulgent language. Tedious, but not a waste of time.
Andyberschauer said on Aug 28, 2009, 19:59