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The Book of Air and Shadows Paperback – February 26, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is made up of three story lines that converge as the story develops. Richard Bracegirdle, the letter writer from the 16th century; Jake Mishkin an Intellectual Property Lawyer; and Albert Crosetti an aspiring filmmaker making a living working for an antiquarian bookshop. The author uses the written word eloquently to bring three distinct characters to life in such a way that you get absolutely and completely absorbed in the narrative. The novel does not totally focus on the thrill of the chase to find the illusive manuscript, but incorporates the (dysfunctional) lives and loves of the main characters to give a rounded whole.
This is a literary detective story, where you will find it difficult to anticipate where the narrative will take you next, with the only way forward to turn the pages quickly to the next and the next. I think the novel holds something for everyone, even if you don't know anything about Shakespeare or books. I have to admit that this book is one of the best I have read so far this year and will definitely anticipate the next book of this author.
TBoAAS is a whole other beast. Slow moving, tedious at times, it none-the-less hooked me and drew me in until I could not walk away. I felt that that the first 2/3's of the book moved at a glacial pace. Which is great if you want to fully involve youself in the characters and the plot. At some point, which I can't precisely pin down, the pace picked up and hauled me, open-mouthed, to the final pages.
Honestly, who would have thought combining a self-absorbed, womanizing lawyer (a heavy lifter, literally, to boot) with a dreamy young man who believes life is literally determined by the movies and setting them on what may or may not be a wild goose chase for an unknown Shakespearean manuscript could prove to be so entertaining?
As a mark of how well done the book is, I shed a few tears at the end, not because it was sad but because the story was over. To date only two other writers have affected me that way.
You don't have to be a literary, artsy type to get into this story, btw. You DO need to persevere long enough to let the story get hold of you. Then you're stuck. Happily so, I might add.
There's lots of shoot 'em up action in this story, told by an assortment of engagingly flawed characters--Shakespeare himself is in the mix--a very difficult device Mr. Gruber pulls off without a false step. Wild plot twists and digressions on topics as varied as the guilt of the very rich, the influence of movies on culture and the nature of truth make it an entertaining and memorable read. Mr. Gruber did some prodigious scholarship; there's information about bookbinding, 17th century armaments, the development of mathematics, Shakespearean lore, the Russian Mob, and geology.
Gruber deftly illustrates the foibles of the main characters (and what foibles they are!) with humor and keeps the reader as curious about them as about the next plot twist. Some charming and well-defined minor characters keep the book from becoming too angst-ridden and their contributions make the main players' voyages of self discovery as riveting as the plentiful action.
This is one of the few thrillers I've read recently that didn't waste my time. It's very smart, very satisfying and well, thrilling.
The main reason? Jake is unbearable to read. I'm all for an anti-hero. In fact I kind of dig them. But Jake is so smarmy and proud of his bedroom conquests that I couldn't help wondering if the author was perhaps giving us insight into his own frustrated sexual fantasies.
So okay. Jake likes sex. Cool. Go for it guy. But when 75% of what he has to say is about bedding women it's not exactly helping propel the story forward.
My frustration was compounded by the fact that the other narrators were more interesting and actually had something to say...storywise. Each time I turned the page and saw it was a Jake chapter I groaned outloud. Finally I had to just give up the fight.
There it is. My first ever review. Sure hope it helps someone else out there in Amazon-land.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just didn't like it very much. It was slow and pretty much went no where.Published 14 days ago by Nanette C. Neidhardt
our book club thought the book was boring and a real bust...........sorryPublished 1 month ago by JEANNE RUDLOFF
Great book. Read with book club, and we all enjoyed it. Some detail was a bit much, and differing opinions between reading it and listening to it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ScoutMommy
Very clever story. Be careful it is full of surprises. Good character development and you learn a lot about Shakespeare. Well worth the time and cost.Published 2 months ago by Doug Slavin
This book bogged down and became tedious. The author could have cut a quarter of the material and had a good thriller. Read this if you can devote much of your time to it.Published 2 months ago by Gardener
Original and unusual. Much more than just a ghost story. Beautifully written.Published 2 months ago by Wise Man
Love this novel. It seemed to drag just a bit towards the end. But it was such a great romp.Published 4 months ago by Susie Paul
This book has been billed as a thriller. Ha! The first third of the book is incredibly slow, and I questioned many times whether I would continue slogging through it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Constant Reader
When I read it a few years ago I gave it three stars after this reread I would give it four. It's a complicated book with three stories within the story and the old English letters... Read morePublished 12 months ago by joyful27