Margaret's Reviews > An Instance of the Fingerpost

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
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's review
Aug 10, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, mystery, authors-op
Read in March, 2008 , read count: 1

In Oxford in 1663, a don is poisoned, and a servant girl is accused; she confesses and is sentenced to be hanged. On the surface, this is what happened, but below the surface, there's plenty more going on.

Pears uses four different narrators, each telling his own story, each revealing what he saw (or thought he saw), which often isn't what the others saw. He handles the multiple narration trick really well; though I found the second and third narrators unsympathetic, I couldn't stop reading. The structure made me think of a sort of double spiral: one starting small and widening as Pears added narrators, information, and scope; and one starting out big and narrowing down until the truth of the mystery was revealed. It's a long, complex, but very rewarding novel.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Schmidt I loved this book. Telling the same story from the multiple points of view and with distinctly different voices was very effective.

message 2: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell I have this! I should totally read it.

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