Thursday, 4 February 2010
Finished Wylder's Hand by Le Fanu last night. It was a very effective mystery story, albeit one without a sleuth, but rather a story in which a central mystery is established, hints are dropped, consequences are shown and a sustained atmosphere of suspense maintained until all is revealed in a final cataclysm. Pacing is one of Le Fanu's great strengths, and he maintains interest and tension very well over the course of about 400 pages with a cast of vivid characters, including several nasty villains, two fascinating heroines, a possibly spectral and quite oracular uncle and many others. There are interesting subplots to hold interest, several moments of wonderfully Gothic atmosphere, beautiful descriptive passages, witty and philosophical asides and enough clues being dropped throughout the novel to keep the reader constantly engaged in trying to figure it all out.
Favourite quote: on the morning after a nocturnal visit from the aforementioned uncle, the narrator declares: 'I was growing most uncomfortably like one of Mrs. Anne Radcliffe's heroes - a race of nervous demigods.'
Posted by JP at 09:11