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Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.
Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect or inspires the awe that he did in earlier times. Despite having previously unraveled more than sixty perplexing criminal puzzles (to the delight of a grateful London constabulary), he is considered something of an embarrassment these days. Still, each night without fail, he returns to the stage of his theatre to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling audience with the same old astonishments—aided by his partner, the silent, hairless, hulking, surprisingly placid giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed . . . and who goes by but one appellation:
On a night of roiling mists and long shadows, in a corner of the city where only the most foolhardy will deign to tread, a rather disreputable actor meets his end in a most bizarre and terrible fashion. Baffled, the police turn once again in the direction of Edward Moon—who will always welcome such assignments as an escape from ennui. And, in fact, he leads the officers to a murderer rather quickly. Perhaps too quickly. For these are strange, strange times in England, with the strangest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly: sinister circus performers, freakishly deformed prostitutes, sadistic grown killers in schoolboy attire, a human fly, a man who lives backwards. And nothing is precisely as it seems.
Which should be no surprise to Moon, whose life and livelihood consists entirely of the illusionary, the unexpected, the seemingly impossible. Yet what is to follow will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality—as death follows death follows death in the dastardly pursuit of poetry, freedom, utopia . . . and Love, Love, Love, and Love.
Remember the name Jonathan Barnes, for, with The Somnambulist, he has burst upon the literary scene with a breathtaking and brilliant, frightening and hilarious, dark invention that recalls Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Clive Barker at their grimly fantastical best . . . with more than a pinch of Carl Hiaasen–esque outrageousness stirred into the demonically delicious brew.
Read on . . . and be astonished!
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Jonathan Barnes, author of the critically acclaimed novel The Somnambulist, graduated from Oxford University with a first in English literature. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and lives in London.Review:
“This superb debut from British author Barnes raises the bar for historical thrillers.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Strange, outrageous, and wonderful ... There is much that is strange, magical, and darkly hilarious about this book ... An original and monumentally inventive piece of work by a writer still in his 20s. Barnes seems to leave himself room for a sequel—a consummation devoutly to be wished.” (Washington Post)
“Old school entertainment in the penny-dreadful tradition that almost succeeds in being as sublime as it is ridiculous.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Magical, dark, beautifully odd–and utterly compelling–this is an astonishing debut.” (Michael Marshall, author of The Intruders)
“Sneaky, cheeky, and dark in the best possible way, Jonathan Barnes’ massively entertaining THE SOMNAMBULIST manages to make the familiar daringly unfamiliar. I enjoyed the heck out of this novel.” (Jeff Vandermeer)
“Macabre wit and stylistic panache. Parliament should immediately pass a law requiring Barnes to write a sequel.” (James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder and The Philosopher’s Apprentice)
“A comic extravaganza, deftly plotted, fiendishly clever, and wonderfully funny. . . . One of the classiest entertainments I’ve read.” (Christopher Bram, author of Exiles in America)
“[B]rilliant...Barnes crafts one of the finest first novels of the young century...Truly surprising plot twists and red herrings abound.” (Austin Chronicle)
“A cheeky tale...salvaged from the sensationalist novels of the past three centuries....it doesn’t take an English-lit wonk to appreciate the antic mind that would name two of the grotesquely deformed prostitutes in Mrs. Puggsley’s brothel after virginal victims of Count Dracula.” (New York Times)
“A first novel that shows all the polish and poise of a master storyteller....By turns disquieting, funny, and taunting.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
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Book Description William Morrow, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0061375381
Book Description William Morrow, 2008. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0061375381
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: New. NEW. Seller Inventory # HUG 11
Book Description William Morrow, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. First Edition. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0061375381n