Saturday, December 11, 2010

Honourable Mentions – Mistaken

This is a book by Neil Jordan (director of Interview with the Vampire) and due for publication in January 2011. I was lucky enough to get an advance reader’s copy via Amazon Vine and have reviewed the book over there.

It is, however, a marvellous piece of contemporary fiction that looks over the lives of Kevin Thunder and his double Gerry Spain, two individuals brought up on different sides of Dublin within different social classes and yet often mistaken for each other – even to the point that they smell the same. The book draws a melancholy landscape of imperfect lives and yet Jordan makes it a joy to read with a crisp prose style.

Why mention it here though? If we read the blurb we get the line “one lived next to Bram Stoker’s house, haunted by an imagined Dracula.” Actually Kevin believes the old lady who lives in the house to be the vampire’s caretaker and is convinced that he sees the vampire out and about – actually it is a child molester and Kevin's imagination tying the man to the feared vampire is his subconscious defence mechanism warning him of the man. Yet, even as an adult, the vampire is part of his dreams, a macabre Jiminy Cricket.

In many ways this reminded me of the vampire Doctor Sax, invented by Jack Kerouac in the novel of the same name. There is one error, but whether it is the author’s or the character’s I don’t know. He mentions movies and seeing “…the Technicolor one with Christopher Lee – Brides of Dracula , I think it was called.” – which of course did not feature Lee. I like to think it was the character’s mistake, the shape of the prose suggests so.

All in all this is not a genre piece of work, but it is a fantastic and highly recommended novel and does rest beneath the shadow of a childhood vampire.


James Garcia Jr said...

Thanks for the tip. As I have just cleared my schedule a bit, the "to be read" pile continues to grow. This book like something different which would be a welcomed choice in a world where too many books seem to sound the same. I guess I'd better remeber that the next time I begin the next WIP.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

It was a welcome change to read some contemporary fiction rather than genre material - not that there is anything wrong with genre fiction but it is nice to vary from time to time.