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The Somnambulist

3 Ratings: 1.7
A book by Jonathan Barnes

Starred Review. Set in Victorian London, this superb debut from British author Barnes raises the bar for historical thrillers, starting with its curious opening line: Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. A page-turner, it's full of … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Jonathan Barnes
Publisher: William Morrow
3 reviews about The Somnambulist
review by . February 29, 2008
I started and finished this book on Leap Day 2008, a good day for such an odd tale. An opium-addled Charles Dickens, a Victorian Steven King, , the Somnambulist skirts the genres of period fiction and fantasy, but ends up reading like a Lemony Snicket satirical riff on the Cold War spy games of John Le Carre.    The book purports to be a first-person narrative of these events by an initially unnamed author, whose identification propels the narrative and events through the last …
review by . August 19, 2008
Jonathan Barnes has attempted here to write a novel that is both wittily self-aware and delightfully macabre. He only partially pulls it off. Like the film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" -- also about a somnambulist and also full of dark and twisted elements -- the narrator here is unreliable -- but teases the reader about his unreliability. In the end, the revelations that begin to make sense of the implausibly fantastic dimensions of his story sound a bit too contrived and too predictable. The …
review by . February 15, 2008
Admittedly, this is one of the most obscure novels I have read of late, lurking figures in a London filled with menace, a Victorian mystery rife with an eclectic cast of characters, from the highest to the lowest echelons of society. "It's as dangerous to believe in nothing as it is to believe in everything." Or so says Edward Moon, a conjurer who performs nightly at his Theatre of Marvels with his eight-foot, milk-quaffing assistant, the Somnambulist. Bored with routine, Moon craves another investigation …
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