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The Book of Speculation: A Novel de Erika…
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The Book of Speculation: A Novel (original: 2015; edição: 2015)

de Erika Swyler (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,6851187,923 (3.63)71
"Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home--a house, perched on the edge of a bluff, that is slowly crumbling toward the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, works for a traveling carnival reading tarot cards, and seldom calls. On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. The book tells the story of Amos and Evangeline, doomed lovers who lived and worked in a traveling circus more than two hundred years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes, sketches, and whimsical flourishes; and his best friend and fellow librarian, Alice, looks on in increasing alarm. Why does his grandmother's name, Verona Bonn, appear in this book? Why do so many women in his family drown on July 24? Could there possibly be some kind of curse on his family--and could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in six years, risk the same fate in just a few weeks? In order to save her--and perhaps himself--Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past. The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books and family and magic"--… (mais)
Membro:Suziff
Título:The Book of Speculation: A Novel
Autores:Erika Swyler (Autor)
Informação:St. Martin's Press (2015), Edition: 1st Edition, 352 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:maybe-later

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The Book of Speculation de Erika Swyler (2015)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 118 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
More whimsical than true fantasy. Too dark, depressing and slow for me. Simon Watson lives by himself on a Long Island bluff, and works as a librarian. He is sent a book about a travelling circus, which includes his grandmother. The narrative moves back and forth between a tragic circus troupe in the past and Simon's financial and other troubles in the present, with the book as the linking medium. Simon is worried about his sister's welfare given the early deaths of his mother and grandmother. maybe 2.5 stars. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
fiction (circus performers and their curses). Great story, but I have to resent how all the librarians and libraries are portrayed as dying relics. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
“My family is a little dark…But even Pandora’s box had hope”

This story has a bit of everything: family secrets, ancient books, folklore, magic, forbidden love and a curse. I found it a little slow to start, but soon realised I was eager to keep reading and often kept going way past bedtime. The story is split over two timelines: the present with Simon and his sister Enola, and a travelling circus during the 1700’s following the ancestors responsible for the ‘family curse’.

The writing style was lovely with a flowing poetic prose. The only issue I had were the present-day characters who were not particularly likeable and difficult to relate to. Simon was often spineless and infuriating, Enola was spoilt and selfish, and as for their neighbour Frank, he was just so damn annoying and interfering. The reason becomes clear as the story progresses, but I kept wanting Simon to tell Frank to eff off! For this reason, I was more drawn to the historical, circus side of the story. I particularly liked Madam Ryzhkova. Although there was nothing ground-breaking here, I found this to be a fun escapism from current reality. A family tree as a final piece of the puzzle would have provided good closure. Part of the Willoughby Book Club. ( )
  moosenoose | Feb 6, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this one, though my enjoyment sort of tapered off the closer I got to the end of the book. Of the two storylines, I much preferred the one set further in the past, and I found the main character in the more recent storyline to be pretty problematic (inconsistent, unbelievable, etc.). Still, on the whole it was a fun read that kept me engaged maybe 80% of the way through. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Overall predictable, with a traditional American ending. Not nearly as good as Night Circus, though both deal with magic realism and love. It is alright, but not magical and does not suck one in the way Night Circus or Harry Potter does (different magic, I know). The flip flop between now and then gives too much away. I wonder what it would be like to read all of one story and then all of the other, and which order should they be read?
Too much power is given to the cards and their curse; you have to buy into that or the whole thing falls apart. I don't buy Frank and his secret, either. He is the flatest character for me. I don't buy the romance of the men just giving up on life when the women die. Too much romance for me, but others may enjoy it more. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Nov 22, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 118 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
****
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

That quote, a golden oldie by George Santayana, about the nature of history, just kept coming to me while I was reading The Book of Speculation, the smart and beguiling new novel by Erika Swyler. This book isn’t about history with a capital H, but it’s a story about a family whose future and past are linked, by tragedy and love, and maybe by magic.

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in his family’s house, which is slowly but surely threatening to crumble into the Long Island Sound. His parents are both dead. His mother, who worked in a circus as a mermaid, drowned in the waters his house overlooks. Simon lives a quiet life, trying to keep the house in one piece with the help of his family’s life long friend and neighbor, Frank. Meanwhile, he begins to drift into love with Frank’s daughter, Alice, who also works at the library. He worries all the while, about his younger sister, Enola, who ran off years ago, and now works for a carnival reading tarot cards, a talent that her mother Paulina also had.

Then Simon receives a book in the mail, sent by an antiquarian bookseller. Old, waterlogged, and damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a travelling carnival in the 1700’s, with many tales of strange and magical occurrences, including the death of a circus mermaid. Simon studies the book, and realizes that it may be about his family. During his research he discovers the fact that many generations of “mermaids” have died by drowning, on July the 24th, the day that his mother died. He also finds out that his sister, Enola, is coming home to visit him. When Enola arrives, followed by her boyfriend Doyle, another circus performer, events accelerate, and Simon, who has lost his job, delves deeper into the book to try and discover if his family is cursed, and if they are, can he find a way to save his sister Enola, and his own future.

There are a lot of things that I am skipping in this synopsis, to avoid spoilers, but I was very charmed by the way that Ms. Swyler mixed the the two stories together, often linking the threads with Tarot cards. The present narrative, told in the first person, and the past, told in the third, were both equally engaging. The ways that each narrative fed and supported the other showed that Ms. Swyler has a real feel for character and a flair for plot and technique. Near the end the present story, the struggles of Simon and Enola and Alice and Doyle, and their quest to end the cycle of tragedies that haunt them seemed to me more engaging than the stories from the past, but it was a quibbling matter. All of the characters in the present tale were so vivid, and their stories were so captivating to me that the tales from the past, became, well, the past. I don’t know if that was Ms. Swyler intent, but I found that it was entirely fitting, and an appropriate and satisfying end to a very good novel. For me, there is no speculation in that.

Review by: Mark Palm
Full Reviews Available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
 
The history of The Book of Speculation also involves a book within a book.

To submit her book to publishers, Swyler wanted to mimic for them the feeling Simon gets when the old book arrives at his home. She learned how to tea-stain pages and hand-bind books, then turned her manuscripts into, as she says in the same publisher’s interview, “little replicas of the mysterious book that Simon receives,” as it was important for her “to convey both the magic and the tactile pleasure that is an old book.”

She also illustrated her manuscript with sketches that would have appeared in Peabody’s book. Some of these sketches are in the published novel, though that wasn’t Swyler’s original intention: “When St. Martin’s said they were interested in illustrations, I foolishly latched on to this idea that an illustrator would be brought in and we’d have fantastic meetings over coffee where we’d discuss tarot cards and circus wagons.

“When I realized that St. Martin’s wanted my illustrations, I had a small heart attack.”

She need not have. The illustrations add charm, and make Peabody’s book seem all that much more real. So when you return this book to its shelf, be prepared to leave a little piece of your heart in a couple places.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/entertai...
adicionado por smasler | editarThe Star-Telgram, Catherine Mallette (Jun 17, 2015)
 
Narrator Simon and his younger sister, Enola, grew up in an 18th-century house on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound. Taking after her mother, a former circus performer who drowned herself when Simon was 7, Enola travels with a carnival as a tarot card reader. Simon is still living in their dangerously dilapidated family home when, out of the blue on one June day, he receives a book from an antiquarian bookseller, who had noticed Simon's grandmother's name inside. Soon Simon discovers a frightening pattern among his female ancestors, all unnaturally good swimmers, all drowning as young women on July 24.
adicionado por smasler | editarKirkus Reivews (Apr 1, 2015)
 

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"Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home--a house, perched on the edge of a bluff, that is slowly crumbling toward the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, works for a traveling carnival reading tarot cards, and seldom calls. On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. The book tells the story of Amos and Evangeline, doomed lovers who lived and worked in a traveling circus more than two hundred years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes, sketches, and whimsical flourishes; and his best friend and fellow librarian, Alice, looks on in increasing alarm. Why does his grandmother's name, Verona Bonn, appear in this book? Why do so many women in his family drown on July 24? Could there possibly be some kind of curse on his family--and could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in six years, risk the same fate in just a few weeks? In order to save her--and perhaps himself--Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past. The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books and family and magic"--

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