I liked the novel-within-a-novel aspect of this well-written book, Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land. The author, John Crowley, weaves a tapestry that manages to move with ease from one generation down to the next, through a story line that is filled with much fantasy.
Crowley gives us imagery, that we peruse, as fine as Byron’s beautiful poetry, with word-paintings we visualize before us. In this novel, part fact, part fiction we glimpse life in the 1800s, and see what it was like to be abandoned by one’s father, and raised by one’s mother. Ada’s mother was separated from Byron shortly after Ada was born.
Crowley’s story of what might have been if Lord Byron actually wrote and finished a novel sheds an interesting perspective on things. Aside from Byron’s brilliant poetry, the novel is filled with romance, drama, deceit, ruthlessness, murder, and intrigue. It defines familial relationships-love and forgiveness, the loss of a growing up without your birth-father, and coming to terms with that issue. It also defines how genetics play on who we are, what traits are carried through, as we grow up, even if others try to stifle them.
Ada, Byron’s abandoned daughter, manages to save the “novel” from destruction, before she herself comes to an early death. “What ifs” are prevalent within the pages…what if her father had written a novel and then wanted it destroyed. What if the novel was not destroyed and Ada created an early computer code for it.
What if Ada, reads the novel, and through reading it, Ada learns about herself, and her father, and learns about his intimate details. Her annotating of her father’s novel is, a catharsis of sorts, for her, in this novel which is partly factual within the realm of fiction.
Once I began it, I could not put it down until I finished it. Curiosity took hold. Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land, by John Crowley is a book I recommend, even though the reader must resort to suspending belief throughout most of the story.
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