27 July 2015

Review: The Book of Speculation: A Novel | Erika Swyler

* Copy courtesy of The Reading Room * 

Simon is a librarian living in his family home on the edge of a cliff, his mother drowned when he was young, and Simon believes his father passed away afterwards from grief.

One day Simon receives an old manuscript on his doorstop, sent to him by an antiquarian bookseller, but he has no idea why.


As Simon begins to read the manuscript we find ourselves following an old American travelling carnival in a dual narrative, with Simon bringing us back to the present.

I enjoyed the chapters taking place within the carnival in the 1800s, and found Simon's chapters far less entertaining. 

About halfway through the novel I began to be annoyed by several repetitions:

- Simon's house falling into the sea due to erosion, this was referred to way too much, and I couldn't help but be annoyed with Simon for his lack of care
- continual references to tarot cards, both within the carnival and by Simon's sister 

The curse was mildly interesting, but the reason for the curse was explained over and over as if the author was afraid the reader wouldn't 'get it'. In the very same fashion, the steps Simon takes to counter the curse (and the result) was over-explained to the extent that it became redundant and a waste of words.

With such an exciting blurb, I was disappointed that the last third of the book kept going on and on and sadly it just ate away at my earlier enjoyment. Such a shame.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!

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