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The Somnambulist

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The Somnambulist Cover

ISBN13: 9780061375385
ISBN10: 0061375381
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.

Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect or inspires the awe that he did in earlier times. Despite having previously unraveled more than sixty perplexing criminal puzzles (to the delight of a grateful London constabulary), he is considered something of an embarrassment these days. Still, each night without fail, he returns to the stage of his theatre to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling audience with the same old astonishments — aided by his partner, the silent, hairless, hulking, surprisingly placid giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed...and who goes by but one appellation:

The Somnambulist

On a night of roiling mists and long shadows, in a corner of the city where only the most foolhardy will deign to tread, a rather disreputable actor meets his end in a most bizarre and terrible fashion. Baffled, the police turn once again in the direction of Edward Moon — who will always welcome such assignments as an escape from ennui. And, in fact, he leads the officers to a murderer rather quickly. Perhaps too quickly. For these are strange, strange times in England, with the strangest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly: sinister circus performers, freakishly deformed prostitutes, sadistic grown killers in schoolboy attire, a human fly, a man who lives backwards. And nothing is precisely as it seems.

Which should be no surprise to Moon, whose life and livelihood consists entirely of the illusionary, the unexpected, the seemingly impossible. Yet what is to follow will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality — as death follows death follows death in the dastardly pursuit of poetry, freedom, utopia...and Love, Love, Love, and Love.

Remember the name Jonathan Barnes, for, with The Somnambulist, he has burst upon the literary scene with a breathtaking and brilliant, frightening and hilarious, dark invention that recalls Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Clive Barker at their grimly fantastical best...with more than a pinch of Carl Hiaasen–esque outrageousness stirred into the demonically delicious brew.

Read on...and be astonished!

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:

"Quite a few fine novels have come this way of late...but nothing remotely resembling Jonathan Barnes's strange, outrageous and wonderful extravaganza....[A]n original and monumentally inventive piece of work by a writer still in his 20s." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World

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:

"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:

"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:

"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:

"[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:

"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 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

Review:

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

Review:

"[The] narrator warns us on page 1 that the story is merely a bit of implausible nonsense with 'no literary merit whatsoever.' These are apt self-criticisms, it turns out, for, despite some humorous moments, The Somnambulist is not half as clever as it pretends to be." Minneapolis Star Tribune

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:

Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.

Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect or inspires the awe that he did in earlier times. Despite having previously unraveled more than sixty perplexing criminal puzzles (to the delight of a grateful London constabulary), he is considered something of an embarrassment these days. Still, each night without fail, he returns to the stage of his theatre to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling audience with the same old astonishments—aided by his partner, the silent, hairless, hulking, surprisingly placid giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed . . . and who goes by but one appellation:

The Somnambulist

On a night of roiling mists and long shadows, in a corner of the city where only the most foolhardy will deign to tread, a rather disreputable actor meets his end in a most bizarre and terrible fashion. Baffled, the police turn once again in the direction of Edward Moon—who will always welcome such assignments as an escape from ennui. And, in fact, he leads the officers to a murderer rather quickly. Perhaps too quickly. For these are strange, strange times in England, with the strangest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly: sinister circus performers, freakishly deformed prostitutes, sadistic grown killers in schoolboy attire, a human fly, a man who lives backwards. And nothing is precisely as it seems.

Which should be no surprise to Moon, whose life and livelihood consists entirely of the illusionary, the unexpected, the seemingly impossible. Yet what is to follow will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality—as death follows death follows death in the dastardly pursuit of poetry, freedom, utopia . . . and Love, Love, Love, and Love.

Remember the name Jonathan Barnes, for, with The Somnambulist, he has burst upon the literary scene with a breathtaking and brilliant, frightening and hilarious, dark invention that recalls Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Clive Barker at their grimly fantastical best . . . with more than a pinch of Carl Hiaasen-esque outrageousness stirred into the demonically delicious brew.

Read on . . . and be astonished!

About the Author

Jonathan Barnes graduated from Oxford University with a first in English literature. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and lives in London. The Somnambulist is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

pebbeb, August 3, 2008 (view all comments by pebbeb)
A highly entertaining read! Set in Victorian London, Julian Barnes creates a mystery that is not only a page turner, but is full of clever and imaginative plot twists that even involve the work of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Edward Moon, the protagonist, is both a conjuror and detective who finds himself involved in a complex mystery that is dark, magical, and highly original. Julian Barnes has written a fascinating novel that makes one long for there to be a sequel.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061375385
Author:
Barnes, Jonathan
Publisher:
William Morrow
Author:
by Jonathan Barnes
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Magicians
Subject:
Fantasy - Historical
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Black humor (Literature)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
February 5, 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.25 x 5.5 x 1.17 in 18 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Historical

The Somnambulist Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780061375385 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Quite a few fine novels have come this way of late...but nothing remotely resembling Jonathan Barnes's strange, outrageous and wonderful extravaganza....[A]n original and monumentally inventive piece of work by a writer still in his 20s."
"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 , "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 , "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 , "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 , "[B]rilliant...Barnes crafts one of the finest first novels of the young century....Truly surprising plot twists and red herrings abound."
"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 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."
"Review" by , "This mix of mystery, fantasy and the uncategorizable proves absolutely beguiling."
"Review" by , "[The] narrator warns us on page 1 that the story is merely a bit of implausible nonsense with 'no literary merit whatsoever.' These are apt self-criticisms, it turns out, for, despite some humorous moments, The Somnambulist is not half as clever as it pretends to be."
"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 ,

Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.

Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect or inspires the awe that he did in earlier times. Despite having previously unraveled more than sixty perplexing criminal puzzles (to the delight of a grateful London constabulary), he is considered something of an embarrassment these days. Still, each night without fail, he returns to the stage of his theatre to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling audience with the same old astonishments—aided by his partner, the silent, hairless, hulking, surprisingly placid giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed . . . and who goes by but one appellation:

The Somnambulist

On a night of roiling mists and long shadows, in a corner of the city where only the most foolhardy will deign to tread, a rather disreputable actor meets his end in a most bizarre and terrible fashion. Baffled, the police turn once again in the direction of Edward Moon—who will always welcome such assignments as an escape from ennui. And, in fact, he leads the officers to a murderer rather quickly. Perhaps too quickly. For these are strange, strange times in England, with the strangest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly: sinister circus performers, freakishly deformed prostitutes, sadistic grown killers in schoolboy attire, a human fly, a man who lives backwards. And nothing is precisely as it seems.

Which should be no surprise to Moon, whose life and livelihood consists entirely of the illusionary, the unexpected, the seemingly impossible. Yet what is to follow will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality—as death follows death follows death in the dastardly pursuit of poetry, freedom, utopia . . . and Love, Love, Love, and Love.

Remember the name Jonathan Barnes, for, with The Somnambulist, he has burst upon the literary scene with a breathtaking and brilliant, frightening and hilarious, dark invention that recalls Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Clive Barker at their grimly fantastical best . . . with more than a pinch of Carl Hiaasen-esque outrageousness stirred into the demonically delicious brew.

Read on . . . and be astonished!

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