I’m not super certain what Matthew Pearl’s “thing” is, but it’s good. I read The Dante Club about this time last year. Matthew Pearl manages to take classic authors, and pull them into fictional stories. It’s just so interesting to pull classic authors into more than just their writing. This time, The Poe Shadow.
I’ve never been the biggest Edgar Allen Poe fan. I suppose his writing was too dark for me. However, even I can’t avoid a good mystery. The Poe Shadow follows Poe fanatic, Quentin Hobson Clark, as he searches for answers to Poe’s final days. The accuracy of Poe’s death circumstances are very accurate, so, great job there, Mr. Pearl. Clark honestly foregoes everything in his life to get to the bottom of the Poe mystery. He loses his fiancée, his job, and his (almost) his sanity.
Clark journeys to Paris on the hunt for the inspiration for one of Poe’s greatest characters. After meeting a few different options for this character’s inspiration, Clark returns to Boston with a fellow in tow, and they begin research. Some more aggressive and colorful folks follow the pair back to Baltimore, and a turf war begins.
In the end…
This book was a little slower for me. I’ve read some real knockouts recently. Matthew Pearl writes from a VERY detailed perspective. Sometimes, crawling through that detail was quite arduous. Though, I’m not going to lie, I did not see the ending coming. Was it necessary? I don’t think so. Did it come out of nowhere? Yes indeed. Was I happy when I finished it? Definitely.
I still have one more Matthew Pearl book in my library. However, it may be another year until I get to it, just to give myself time to get over all of the details from The Poe Shadow. If you’re looking for a mystery that combines some real events with some detailed fiction, definitely pick up anything by Matthew Pearl.
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