Drood, by Dan Simmons, Quercus 2009, 777pp.
I was looking forward to a good romp through Dickensian London with Dickens himself, his pal Wilkie Collins, and the mysterious Drood, thereby perhaps learning a bit in the process (I have not read Dickens's last book The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Alas the sometimes fine writer Mr Simmons has come up with another turkey. This is plain awful stuff. I do not mind a few opium dens in caves beneath London, in fact I was hoping for some. But these merge interminably with the dreams of Wilkie Collins, who becomes quite a caricature of the Unreliable Narrator. There is a lot of good material here, the birth of the detective story for example, but Collins and his ravings are always boringly in your face. I read all 777 pages hoping at least for a resolution to the mystery, but there is none, or none you can care about.
I was surprised to see a New Yorker review of Drood (reproduced on the Amazon link above). Though it goes so far as to say "the narrative is overlong", it might otherwise lead you to believe the book was worth reading. It must have been some favor called in.
Paul wrote: I just don't know why anyone reads dan simmons. Hyperion and co were unreadable and that's his best stuff his fans say.
Jay wrote: Don't hold back. Call it like you see it.