Posted by : atcampbell | On : February 4, 2013

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar

Six people attended this meeting at the North Village Branch Library. Our topic was The Bookman, a 2010 steampunk novel set in a 19th Century England ruled by giant lizards where historical characters move amongst literary figures of the era, particularly from the the Sherlock Holmes mythos. In this story, a young poet protagonist encounters a plot involving terrorists, robots, aliens, and a mysterious and deadly figure called “The Bookman.”

None of us at the meeting had read anything by Lavie Tidar before.  We all started The Bookman but only one had finished it, although two others said they would probably also finish.

A couple of readers read about 1/4 of the book and gave up, citing “standard and dated steampunk tropes”, “pointless name-dropping”, and “nothing interesting.” One of these said the book “thought it was more clever than it actually was.”

Another reader complained that this book’s prose was so purple that he felt he was reading an entry in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.  He felt the prose style

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