- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: SINCLAIR-STEVENSON LTD; First Edition edition (1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1856195074
- ISBN-13: 978-1856195072
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,233,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dan Leno And The Limehouse Golem Hardcover – Import, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel has a series of interlocking stands. In one our anti-heroine, Lizzie, is accused of the murder of John Cree, her husband. In another, John Cree's diary reveals certain secrets that not only he would have wanted to hide. In a third strand, we learn of Lambeth Marsh Lizzie's past, how she came to a life in the theatre and how she met her husband. A fourth strand follows the career of Dan Leno, a music hall player, worshipper of the silent clown Grimaldi and mentor of Lizzie's stage life. And in a fifth strand we see how, in a great city like London, our paths inevitably cross those of great thinkers, writers, artists and, of course, history itself. Peter Ackroyd thus has his characters cross the paths of a writer, George Gissing, and a thinker of note, one Karl Marx, as they tramp the streets of Limehouse after a day at the library.
As usual, sex has a lot to do with the relationships in the book. It is usually on top, but here it also comes underneath and sometimes on the side of events.Read more ›
The book takes a little while to get a grip on, consisting as it does of several different narratives, but halfway through it shifts down a gear and really takes off.
We are then taken into the Victorian world of theatre and gross murder.
Ackroyd writes about London superbly and he has managed to combine this with a good crime novel, some wonderfully horrible writing here.
This is a kaleidoscope of fragments which builds up the story by extracts from a (made up) diary, a trial transcript and the main character's early history. It begins at both ends and works towards the solution in the middle. There are surprises at the end of chapters, little hints all along so you wonder why a suspected a murderer reads Tennyson to his wife, but it is not until you get to the end that they sink in so it maybe worth reading the book a second time to appreciate its clever crafting. No linear narrative here then, just like Ackroyd's other London books.
These fragments come from all over the place and the author makes sense of them, just as we try to make sense out of the many events which make up out lives. One important fragment, woven into the story, is the main character, Lambeth Marsh Lizzie (Elizabeth Cree after her marriage) who is reminiscent of the title of W. Somerset Maugham's novel, Liza of Lambeth. Maybe Ackroyd based his character on her because there are parallels: both are young women who have gone astray; both are the only child of a religious, hypocritical mother who mistreats them; both oppose their mother's will; and both have lived all their childhood in poverty in Lambeth approximately in the same period. Both novels, deal with popular theatre influencing the lives and behaviour of the urban masses. Leno says, "We never do dirty - but double-entendres."
Typically post-modern, the novel muses on the self. Who am I?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book for my husband, and he read it but didn't care for it. He would have preferred a biography or autobiography of Dan Leno.Published 15 months ago by Linda Hartle
Peter Ackroyd is a great writer. His seemless mixture of styles, techniques, a brooding sense of place and time jumps creates some of the best fiction being written today. Read morePublished on April 30, 2000 by Craig G Cram
The concept of time folding in and repeating itself, retracing ones own steps, spreads throughout this book. Read morePublished on September 28, 1999