No Books's Reviews > The Women of Nell Gwynne's

The Women of Nell Gwynne's by Kage Baker
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Nov 02, 11

bookshelves: signed, women-writers, steampunk, anglo-america, postmodernism, novella, 21st-century
Read from December 15 to 16, 2009 — I own a copy, read count: 1

I got this book for free (US-to-Italy shipping included) as the lucky winner of one of the givaways during the now legendary Steampunk Month at Tor.com. And a signed copy, too--even though her signature is a nondescript scribble. The packaging is ludicrous: hardcover, dust jacket, illustrations, fanciful typeset(s)... I'm grateful & very happy; but I won't be bribed. If you're reading this at all, you want an honest review.

The story is a textbook example of classic steampunk: Victorian London with present-day technology.
Steampunk, brilliant! But I'm a bit disappointed. My problem with the novel being, I suppose, that it is too much genre fiction. Everything is where it ought to be, but the whole feels like homework.
Maybe the word I'm looking for is unpretentious.
Namely, the best intuitions come from the setting & the background: both the references to the British way of life in the Empire (the way it is woven into the story) and the narrative twist which makes incougrously-advanced technology available are quite interesting. And the references to London life, especially to social stratifications, are among the novel's best assets. Although vintage dialogues are slightly excessive: cf. the various "I am she", "ought it?" & countless "somewhat".
The characters, on the contrary, are stock figures; like in bad TV series, where every character is always given the same lines.

[edit] The author died recently (31 january 2010).
Meanwhile, Nell Gwynne's is sold out.
No, I'm not selling my copy.
And by the way, the old matrons of Nell Gwynne's was a lovely character, surely the most interesting in the novel. I'm convinced that Kage identified with her, to some extent.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Claire (new)

Claire Dai, somewhat è une delle mie parole preferite, non può mai essere usata troppe volte ;)


No Books Sinceramente a me aveva dato un po' fastidio alla lunga, ma se lo dici tu non discuto. ;)


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