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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

"The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl

This book has a puff from Dan Brown on the front which made me fear the worst. Happily it is nowhere near as bad as The Da Vinci Code; indeed it is nearly as good as The Rule of Four.

Set in Harvard in 1865 it chronicles Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell and publisher J.T. Fields, the Dante Translation Club, as they prepare the first American translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. But there is an evil professor at Harvard who seeks to stop them, damning Dante as obscene (and Catholic). Worse, a psychopath is killing people in ways that mirror punishments described in the Inferno.

Amusing hokum. As a whodunnit there were not nearly enough clues to identify the psychopath although one (a la Da Vinci Code) was obvious; as a thriller it was far too interested in the characters of the four famous Club members and the ins and outs of the Inferno and Dante's life and character. Me being an unusual reader I found these the most interesting parts of the book and I am now resolved to read The Comedy (and maybe the Vita Nuova as well) and to find a biography of Dante.

August 2009, 420 pages

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