Julie's Reviews > In the Hand of Dante: A Novel

In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches
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's review
May 25, 10

bookshelves: own, fiction
Read in July, 2009, read count: 1

While browsing at a local book fair, this book grabbed my attention because I love Dante and the Divine Comedy. After perusing the description on the back cover, I snatched up the book, intrigued by the prospects of a novel about the discovery of an original Dante manuscript. When I began reading, however, I was sorely disappointed.

The book is so disjointed and frankly, it is tedious and boring. While I liked the initial plot about the priest making his fantastic discovery in the Vatican archives, I hated the whole gangster scenario, which was unnecessarily vulgar and violent. Tosches’ first person narrative is fractured and he spends a good portion of the first half of the book rambling (about diabetes, the publishing industry, his childhood) and these diatribes have little to do with story. Even the parallel account of Dante creation of the Divine Comedy is lacking. Done in the hands of a better writer, it could have been effective, but the writing is dense and the pages upon pages of Cabbalist numerology were almost painful. I felt like I hardly got to know Dante at all. Overall, I would call this book a disaster that lacked focus and coherence.

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