Cheryl's Reviews > Pure

Pure by Andrew  Miller
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's review
Feb 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, literature, france, 2012-favourite
Read from February 05 to 11, 2012

The stink of the Innocents is permeating the soil, the water, and the air of Paris. The rotting remains of the overstuffed cemetery of les Innocents are leaching into the food and even the very skin and breath of the living inhabitants of the surrounding city. The vast yard of bones and soupy remains is eroding into their cellars. So the King's minister has hired on an engineer from Normandy to put together a crew that will dig up and relocate the corpses to the Catacombs, then destroy the cemetery and the church.
This is a sumptuous and evocative story of late 18th century Paris. It is as if Andrew Miller himself just came back from 1785 and is eagerly regaling us with all that he saw. We are jostled by the crowds in the streets and the rough labourers in the cemetery, we smell the fetid air, we feel the grit beneath our feet and between our fingers, we peer into the dim candle-lit shadows of hovels, church recesses, and charnel houses.

Eeeeww factoid: Scientific American provided a fascinating article on the history of this cemetery. The cemetery was so crowded that not enough oxygen was available for decomposition, so mounds of fat resulted. This human fat was turned into soaps and candles.
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Quotes Cheryl Liked

Andrew  Miller
“First ambitions are best. We are less brave later.”
Andrew Miller, Pure

Reading Progress

02/05/2012 page 18
5.0% "It is quickly evident that this is going to be a great book. 18th century Paris, and a graveyard and it's 50,000+ corpses has to be moved, because the yard of bones is eroding into the cellars of neighbouring houses. Should have been on the Booker list - another example of Stella's bad judgment."
02/06/2012 page 51
15.0% "It feels like Andrew Miller has been to 1785 Paris himself, and he is here now to tell us his adventures."
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan oh, boy these are books that give nightmares! It sounds so awful and scary, but what an interesting book it must be..maybe its the content that kept it from the Booker.. is it an e-book Cheryl, I forgot to check?

message 2: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan oh, another thought, its right up your to speak..but I am interested in it nevertheless after you giving it 5 stars!

Cheryl It's an old fashioned paperback Susan. No it's not at all scary or awful. There's very little of " eeeww!" bits. It's a great atmosphere. It would have been a great book for the Booker.

Lady of the Lake I guess soaps and candles are better than soups and stews!! LoL

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