Tuesday, 4 August 2009

THE CASEBOOK OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN by Peter Ackroyd

Now this is more like it.

Peter Ackroyd makes Victor Frankenstein a student at Cambridge, which enables Victor to make the acquaintance of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his various associates, including a certain Mary Godwin, and also lets Ackroyd find a way to shift the bulk of the action to his own home turf, London. There's an interestingly Dickensian overtone at times. Ackroyd's narrative is substantial, but poised, without waste and enriched with excellent secondary characters, real and fictional. The horrors, once they start unfolding, are truly creepy - few things I've read lately are as chilling as the resurrection scene here. The climax or crux of the story is unexpected and satisfying. Certainly one of Ackroyd's better efforts in recent times - I'd even say that he's back in form now, after the post-Milton In America slump.

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