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This title in other editions

The Somnambulist

by

The Somnambulist Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect that he did in earlier times. Still, each night he returns to the stage of his theater to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling, audience, aided by his partner, the Somnambulist — a silent, hairless, hulking giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed. But these are strange, strange times in England, with the oddest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly. And the very bizarre death of a disreputable actor has compelled a baffled police constabulary to turn once again to Edward Moon for help — inevitably setting in motion events that will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality.

Review:

"Quite a few fine novels have come this way of late — Ronan Bennett's 'Zugzwang,' Frank Tallis' 'Vienna Blood' and T. Jefferson Parker's 'L.A. Outlaws' are three — but nothing remotely resembling Jonathan Barnes' strange, outrageous and wonderful extravaganza, 'The Somnambulist.' Variously a satire, an adventure, a mystery and a horror show, this first novel by a young Englishman is set in London... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[B]rilliant...Barnes crafts one of the finest first novels of the young century....Truly surprising plot twists and red herrings abound." Austin Chronicle

Review:

"The Illusionist meets Arthur Conan Doyle. And Edgar Allan Poe. Also Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and Doctor Who....Old-school entertainment in the penny-dreadful tradition that almost succeeds in being as sublime as it is ridiculous. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"[A] remarkably entertaining horror/mystery/historical/comic novel that fans of any of those genres won't want to miss....[C]ombines the subtle horror of Patricia Highsmith, the goofy gore of Christopher Moore, and the cartoon action of the TV series Heroes. Read for the sheer fun of it." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"A reader of Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Wilkie Collins is likely to find plenty to wink at, but the story works on many levels. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Barnes's energetic prose is an efficient vehicle for presenting one outrageous character or situation after another....It is fun going down, but chances are you'll hate yourself in the morning." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In recent years there has been a surge of novels set in the 19th century. The Somnambulist is one of the best....[A] grotesque and compelling debut." The Guardian (U.K.)

Review:

"This mix of mystery, fantasy and the uncategorizable proves absolutely beguiling." Bookgasm

Review:

"This promising debut subverts its 19th-century predecessors amusingly. Inventive and often witty. A cabinet crammed with curiosities." The Observer (U.K.)

Review:

"Magical, dark, beautifully odd — and utterly compelling — this is an astonishing debut." Michael Marshall, author of The Intruders

Synopsis:

This extraordinary tale involves Edward Moon, stage magician and detective, his silent sidekick the Somnambulist, and a devilish plot to re-create the apocalyptic prophecies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and bring the British Empire crashing down.

Synopsis:

"A deliciously spooky pastiche of the high and low Gothic traditions and the tender heroines who live and die by them."

—New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

“Harwood, master of creeping Victorian horror, does it again . . . Twisted in every sense of the word and wonderfully atmospheric.”—Booklist

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a remote asylum in England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

“Redolent with a sense of foreboding . . . This gothic tale will sweep you up into the very heart of Victorian England. A splendid read!”—Historical Novel Society, Editors’ Choice

“A richly textured . . . [and] masterfully constructed narrative . . . Readers are guaranteed a thoroughly diverting time in Harwood’s not-to-be-trusted hands.”—The Independent (UK)

“The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting.”—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Jonathan Barnes, author of the critically acclaimed novel The Somnambulist, graduated from Oxford University with a first in English literature. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

crowyhead, March 17, 2009 (view all comments by crowyhead)
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. There's a lot here to like: mysterious secret societies, freaks, a mystery-solving magician, and an atmospheric Victorian setting. The end result, however, is something of a confusing mish-mash. It's as though Barnes had WAY too many good ideas (and some bad ones) and tried to fit them all into the same book. There are parts of this book that will likely pop back into my head and amuse me for months to come, but that doesn't really make it a good book as a whole.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061375392
Author:
Barnes, Jonathan
Publisher:
Harper Paperbacks
Author:
by Jonathan Barnes
Author:
by Jonathan Barnes
Author:
Harwood, John
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Fantasy - Historical
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy-Historical
Subject:
Suspense
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
January 2009
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Historical

The Somnambulist New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.99 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Harper Paperbacks - English 9780061375392 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[B]rilliant...Barnes crafts one of the finest first novels of the young century....Truly surprising plot twists and red herrings abound."
"Review" by , "The Illusionist meets Arthur Conan Doyle. And Edgar Allan Poe. Also Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and Doctor Who....Old-school entertainment in the penny-dreadful tradition that almost succeeds in being as sublime as it is ridiculous. (Grade: B)"
"Review" by , "[A] remarkably entertaining horror/mystery/historical/comic novel that fans of any of those genres won't want to miss....[C]ombines the subtle horror of Patricia Highsmith, the goofy gore of Christopher Moore, and the cartoon action of the TV series Heroes. Read for the sheer fun of it."
"Review" by , "A reader of Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Wilkie Collins is likely to find plenty to wink at, but the story works on many levels. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Barnes's energetic prose is an efficient vehicle for presenting one outrageous character or situation after another....It is fun going down, but chances are you'll hate yourself in the morning."
"Review" by , "In recent years there has been a surge of novels set in the 19th century. The Somnambulist is one of the best....[A] grotesque and compelling debut."
"Review" by , "This mix of mystery, fantasy and the uncategorizable proves absolutely beguiling."
"Review" by , "This promising debut subverts its 19th-century predecessors amusingly. Inventive and often witty. A cabinet crammed with curiosities."
"Review" by , "Magical, dark, beautifully odd — and utterly compelling — this is an astonishing debut."
"Synopsis" by , This extraordinary tale involves Edward Moon, stage magician and detective, his silent sidekick the Somnambulist, and a devilish plot to re-create the apocalyptic prophecies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and bring the British Empire crashing down.
"Synopsis" by , "A deliciously spooky pastiche of the high and low Gothic traditions and the tender heroines who live and die by them."

—New York Times Book Review

"Synopsis" by ,
“Harwood, master of creeping Victorian horror, does it again . . . Twisted in every sense of the word and wonderfully atmospheric.”—Booklist

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a remote asylum in England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

“Redolent with a sense of foreboding . . . This gothic tale will sweep you up into the very heart of Victorian England. A splendid read!”—Historical Novel Society, Editors’ Choice

“A richly textured . . . [and] masterfully constructed narrative . . . Readers are guaranteed a thoroughly diverting time in Harwood’s not-to-be-trusted hands.”—The Independent (UK)

“The crisp prose and twisty plot will encourage many to read this in one sitting.”—Publishers Weekly

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