Parent Alert! Parent Alert!
This review is for a book YOU WOULD ENJOY.
The Dante Club by Mathew Pearl is a book that is half-history text, half murder mystery.
Yes, a winning combination 🙂
The story takes place right after the Civil War in Boston. It revolves around American literary masters Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Lowell.
They are translating Dante’s Inferno. And then people around them start getting murdered in ways strangely similiar to Dante’s masterpiece.
It was hard for me to get into this book at first because the first couple of chapters are written like a history book as we are introduced to the characters. And not just any history book, but one of those huge, dusty ancient tomes you find hidden in library stacks that uses mostly source material and contains outdated language. Once Pearl hits his stride though (or my brain became used to that writing style, whichever) the story does become engaging.
You never quite…connect with the characters, but you do care what happens to the American Poets as they chase down their killer literary-befuddled gentleman style.
And the history. Ah yes, this quite literally is dripping with history. Longfellow and Holmes particularly came alive for me, in ways that informs their poetry and makes me want to go back and read it knowing now about their wives, and their mixed feelings regarding race relations, and the horrible aftermath of the Civil War.
Recommended, but with the warning that it is a dense, dense text and not for the faint-hearted.