NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, July 9, 2009


by Matthew Pearl

"Boston, 1870. When news of Charles Dickens's untimely death reaches the office of his struggling American publisher, Fields & Osgood, partner James Osgood sends his trusted clerk Daniel Sand to await the arrival of Dickens's unfinished novel. But when Daniel's body is discovered by the docks and the manuscript is nowhere to be found, Osgood must embark on a transatlantic quest to unearth the novel that he hopes will save his venerable business and reveal Daniel's killer." (From the CD container.)

I'm going to exhibit my ignorance right now, so bear with me a moment. Until all the buzz about Dan Simmons' Drood came up a while back, I had no idea there was an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. Suddenly two books come out early this year only weeks apart using that very unfinished work as their premise. Does anyone know what brought this on? Just curious.

While The Last Dickens wasn't the most engrossing novel I've ever read, I did enjoy the creativity that went into it. I like books that spin off from classic novels and stories and seeing how various authors expand on the original and make it their own, how they make characters we thought we knew behave and events unfold. I have trouble thinking "outside the box", and I admire those who can do it so imaginatively.

I also enjoyed all the information about Charles Dickens' reading tour in the U.S. and the early days of the publishing industry, but what The Last Dickens mostly did was pique my interest in opium dens and the opium trade of that period. I must be in need of some dark and dingy reading material. And I must read what there is of the real Mystery of Edwin Drood!


Anna said...

So now you're into opium, eh? LOL

This one sounds interesting, but I'm not a big Dickens fan. Still, it sounds worth checking out at some point. Drood, on the other hand, that's one monstrous book.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ Even *I* find the things I get interested in strange. :-) This book doesn't require one to be a Dickens fan at all. It's a pretty decent mystery all on its own. And I agree about Drood. I'd like to read it, but the reviews I've seen have been mixed enough to give me pause considering its size.


bermudaonion said...

Drood had the same affect on me! I was blown away by the drug use in the book and became very curious as to its historical accuracy.

Lezlie said...

Bermudaonion ~ OK. Now I have to read Drood. Size be damned! :-)


Terri B. said...

What brought the rush of interest in Edwin Drood lately is a good question! I stumbled on this unfinished work quite a few years ago. I can't say I remember much about it, but I do remember liking it (or at the very least being very intrigued).

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ I'm not ruling out pure coincidence that these books would come out at the same time, but it does seem odd.


Iliana said...

I really wanted to read Drood but it's such a chunkster that I'm sort of not in the mood for that now. Now you've got me interested in this one :)

Lezlie said...

Iliana ~ I'm hoping I'll be able to find Drood on unabridged audio somewhere, but no luck so far. I can't wait to see what you think of this one if you decide to pick it up!


Australian Online Bookshop said...

I really enjoyed this book too and like you, I was pleased to learn a little more about Dickens along the way. Not the best book I've read this year but very enjoyable all the same.

Lezlie said...

Australian Online Bookshop ~ The book tour parts of the novel are the ones that are sticking with me the most. Probably because I'm becoming quite a Dickens fan, and it's interesting to see the personality that Pearl fits him with.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!