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The Nebuly Coat

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Into the quietly decaying backwater of Cullerne Wharf steps architect Arthur Westray, with a brief to restore the ancient Cullerne Minster and its precariously lofty tower. Thwarted ambition abounds in Cullerne, above all the disputed inheritance of the Blandamers, with their nebuly coat of arms.
Paperback, 255 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Steve Savage, (first published 1988)
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This was a lovely and poignant turn of the century novel with a hint of a darker mystery at it's core. I must confess, I was a little bit taken aback by how much I enjoyed this. At first I was waffling between giving it four and five stars, as I found some of the descriptions of church architecture a bit tedious at times, but the ending swayed me towards giving it the higher rating. I'm feeling a little bit emotional today, so I'm sure that also had some impact on the way the ending moved me. In ...more
There were times I felt its age and others when glad it was from another age and sensibility. It is overall still a good read and the development of the intrigue is intriguing, especially at the end when one expects the hammer to fall. It does go a bit too fast there and our modern sensibility may find it even faster and less credible, but I've nothing to say against a world where one good deed, however painful it was supposed to be (in my mind the only solution, to be honest), leads to another ...more
Derek Davis
Only the third (and final) of Falkner's novels, this is an astonishing book, as close to a perfect novel as I've read.

In plotting, language, internal balance and, most of all, in the psychological delineation of character, it's not quite like anything else. Time and again, a character says or acts in a way that's startling and unpredictable, yet each time there's that inner stab that tells you the choice is exactly right. The dialogue is convincing throughout.

Though there is one "Lord" present,
Oct 20, 2012 Keith rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kristin Wilson
Recommended to Keith by: Karen DeWitt
Shelves: 2012, ebooks, fiction
Why we read what we read has long been a fascinating question for me. James Mustich Jr., the owner of the late and lamented Common Books company once said:
What thread leads us through the labyrinth of all there is to read? Is there such a thread? It seems to me there is, and that we constant readers, were we to view the lines of our reading lives from a broader perspective than the page-by-page, would see that to a suprising extent we proceed from book to book connectedly - this leading to that,
This 1903 novel was recommended by Michael Dirda and others from his reading discussion group at the Washington Post and was very enjoyable in an old-fashioned way with the humorous reflections on various characters, aphorisms and descriptions of the English town and church where the story was set. The characters were out of a stock box--the kind old aunt, the young romantic girl, the young hero, the lord who was wild when younger, etc--but they each had their own quirks, keeping them from becom ...more
Thoroughly enjoyable. The author he most resembles in this particular work is Wilkie Collins - he doesn't have the detached authorial voice of Trollope, although he does venial clerics just as well, nor does he have the ominous emotion of Hardy, though the end of this novel is as good as anything Hardy achieved without that sense of teetering on the brink of ridiculous.So why is this a forgotten work? Maybe because it belongs to an era earlier than that in which it was written - his style is def ...more
Four and a half stars. I can't quite bring myself to give it five partly because there are some extended expository passages that break up the flow of the storyline (and thus the writing is not as taut as in Moonfleet), but primarily because on the way to a bold and unique conclusion at the last moment Falkner reverts to the sentimental and unoriginal. Well worth reading however despite these minor complaints.
One of those rare novels that exhibits a profound art historical knowledge-- in this case, of English Gothic architecture. The book is an unusual blend of mystery and fiction in the tradition of Thomas Hardy. A page-turner that is demanding in the way really good fiction tends to be. Not quite as good as The Moonstone, but still very good indeed.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
Available on both Librivox and Gutenberg.

From wiki - a novel which tells of the experiences of a young architect, Edward Westray, who is sent to the remote Dorset town of Cullerne to supervise restoration work on Cullerne Minster. He finds himself caught up in Cullerne life, and hears rumours about a mystery surrounding the claim to the title of Lord Blandamer, whose coat of arms in the Minster's great transept window is the nebuly coat of the title. When th
I enjoy Victorian novels, so I read this book with great interest. I liked the mystery aspect, as well as the descriptions of architecture, and I thought the characters were very well-drawn.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2013 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Joje, Wanda
Shelves: e-books, gutenberg
Free download available at Project Gutenberg
An enjoyable gothic with some unique moments, but not sure why it's a 'lost classic'.
A good book to read while the wind is howling outside and you're warm under the covers.
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John Meade Falkner, the son of a country cleryman, was born in 1858. After taking his degree at Oxford, he went to Newcastle-upon-Tyne as a private tutor to the sons of Andrew Noble. When they had grown up he stayed on with the family, and entered the firm where Sir Andrew worked. He travelled a great deal for the firm, particularly to the Balkans, helping to export warships and armaments, for whi ...more
More about John Meade Falkner...
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“It is sad when man’s unhappiness veils from him the smiling face of nature. The promise of the early morning was maintained. The sky was of a translucent blue, broken with islands and continents of clouds, dazzling white like cotton-wool. A soft, warm breeze blew from the west, the birds sang merrily in every garden bush, and Cullerne was a town of gardens, where men could sit each under his own vine and fig-tree. The bees issued forth from their hives, and hummed with cheery droning chorus in the ivy-berries that covered the wall-tops with deep purple. The old vanes on the corner pinnacles of Saint Sepulchre’s tower shone as if they had been regilt. Great flocks of plovers flew wheeling over Cullerne marsh, and flashed with a blinking silver gleam as they changed their course suddenly. Even through the open window of the organist’s room fell a shaft of golden sunlight that lit up the peonies of the faded, threadbare carpet.

But inside beat two poor human hearts, one unhappy and one hopeless, and saw nothing of the gold vanes, or the purple ivy-berries, or the plovers, or the sunlight, and heard nothing of the birds or the bees.”
“For Nature, if she once endows man or woman with romance, gives them so rich a store of it as shall last them, life through, unto the end. In sickness or health, in poverty or riches, through middle age and old age, through loss of hair and loss of teeth, under wrinkled face and gouty limbs, under crow’s-feet and double chins, under all the least romantic and most sordid malaisances of life, romance endures to the end. Its price is altogether above rubies; it can never be taken away from those that have it, and those that have it not, can never acquire it for money, nor by the most utter toil—no, nor ever arrive at the very faintest comprehension of it.” 1 likes
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