The Dante Club: A Novel

by Matthew Pearl | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0812971043 Global Overview for this book
Registered by copchic905 of St. Louis, Missouri USA on 10/30/2011
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by copchic905 from St. Louis, Missouri USA on Sunday, October 30, 2011
Book Description
Publication Date: February 10, 2004
The New York Times Bestseller

Boston, 1865. A series of murders, all of them inspired by scenes in Dante’s Inferno. Only an elite group of America’s first Dante scholars—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J. T. Fields—can solve the mystery. With the police baffled, more lives endangered, and Dante’s literary future at stake, the Dante Club must shed its sheltered literary existence and find the killer.
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Journal Entry 2 by copchic905 at St. Louis, Missouri USA on Saturday, February 11, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (2/11/2012 UTC) at St. Louis, Missouri USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Added to MaryZee's Bookish Bookbox

Journal Entry 3 by wingk00kaburrawing at San Jose, California USA on Sunday, March 25, 2012
I added a brightly-colored sticker to the book to make the BookCrossing # show up a little more for future readers :)

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I listened to an audio version of this book in 2009/10 and wrote the following:

It's an interesting read. I enjoyed the book, and I'm usually not much of a thriller/mystery genre fan. The characters are all fairly static and lacking in personality, but maybe Pearl wasn't comfortable casting traits onto 'real' people. Since the murders being investigated are based on punishments from Dante's Inferno the descriptions were quite graphic and disgusting. Men being eaten alive over several days by maggots, for example. Eeew.

The book had a bit of a pacing problem. Certain passages would really drag while others were OK. The attempts to imitate the language of the 19th century didn't always succeed, and the overly complex prose could be quite awkward. But overall it was enjoyable enough that I'm considering getting another of Pearl's books on audio CD.

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This book enjoyed a visit in San Jose, California before continuing (unread) in its travels in MaryZee's Bookish Bookbox!

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, April 05, 2012
I'm claiming this from the Bookish bookbox. I've been curious about it for some time, and k00kaburra's comments about "graphic and disgusting" sold me {wry grin}.

Later: OK, some of the crimes were most definitely horrifying, with the graphic-and-disgusting details forming part of the narrative - but the book also touches on the publishing business circa the 1860s, power politics in academia, the personal lives of the main characters, and some of the grittier aspects of post-Civil-War life, especially for those who suffered physical and/or mental trauma. And then there's the Divine Comedy - I've only read excerpts here and there, but I admit that some of the discussions here made me want to give it another try! [Though I don't know whether I'd go for Longfellow's translation - I had no idea he'd done one before I read this book - or for that by Dorothy L. Sayers, whose "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries I adored before I ever heard about her Dante-translation project...]

As for the story itself, I found it a bit up and down. It opens with a charming cautionary note that suggests that the whole thing is a real historical document, and there's certainly a lot of accurate detail in the narrative, but the writing tends to bounce around a good deal; I don't mind out-of-order story-telling when it makes sense, but here there seemed to be some confusing shifts in time/place, and in some cases the same events were re-told two or three different times, depending on how many groups of characters were involved. In some cases such varying-viewpoint accounts can add to suspense and/or interest, but here I generally found them confusing and repetitive.

That aside, I enjoyed the story - though I did wonder how the character of Oliver Wendell Holmes, so often described as asthmatic and not in the best of condition, could manage as much running and climbing as he's put to {wry grin}. [I did appreciate the mentions of his involvement in the famous Parkman murder case, btw, one of many historical notes that I appreciated.] I did guess the suspect before the conclusion, but that was more because of tell-tale character traits that, in a film, would have immediately flagged him as "suspicious", rather than by working out the actual clues.

I appreciated the historical note and author-interview at the end of the book. And one of these days I'm going to have to visit the Longfellow house, setting for some of the action; I admit I was surprised to find that it's still there, a National Historical Site!

Journal Entry 5 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, July 06, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (7/6/2012 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'm adding this book to chefcrossing's Serial Killers bookbox, which will be on its way to marriedfairy in Arizona soon. Hope someone enjoys it!

Journal Entry 6 by AKSarah at Fairbanks, Alaska USA on Thursday, August 30, 2012
Received in the Serial Killer Bookbox.

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