Night RPM's Reviews > Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight

Nocturne by James Attlee
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's review
Apr 25, 2011

liked it
Read in April, 2011

A book that is literally obsessed with the moon and the night. Attlee is incredibly erudite and writes with fluid but modest elegance. The best parts of the book are when Attlee shares esoteric events/facts about something - the moment of discovery, for the reader, I feel, is as pleasant & genuine as it must have been for the writer. One jumps from Li Po to Mussolini to Basho to Rudolph Hess, and I really loved taking this detour through Attlee's book. This is very much a book for the promeneur, written by the promeneur. Love it.

I do like the discursive narrative method very much, but unlike Sebald, who also wrote discursively... Attlee's book is less elliptical. It's more straightforward, which a lot of readers might appreciate, but for me, this actually disrupted the narrative rhythm, as each chapter was too "organized" by theme/events/persona.

There is also a slight loss of poise when Attlee discusses things that are fraught with environmental import, etc. The tone becomes surprisingly hostile or shrill - surprising, because the general tenor of the book is so urbane & considerate.

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