Kay's Reviews > Uncle Silas

Uncle Silas by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
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's review
Aug 02, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: gaslight-weird, victorian-sensatn, favorites, fiction
Read in June, 2000

Terrific Gothic atmosphere and aura of menace. Maud Ruthyn, the heroine of the tale, is an orphan who comes to live with the titular uncle, and she enlists the reader's full empathy from the get-go. We and she both know that her uncle is a murderous villain, but of course to outside eyes he is an upright Victorian gentleman, or should I say reformed gentleman -- his unsavory past is not, it seems, in the past at all, even though he puts on religious trappings. (And thus one of the themes of the novel, which I quite liked, was religious hypocrisy). Maud has unfortunately been conditioned to obey her elders (especially male elders), and so much of what drives the tale is her gradual enlightenment -- it's psychologically engrossing.

LeFanu is a master at this sort of dark, atmospheric and convoluted tale. (Another master, of course, was Wilkie Collins, who likewise excelled at creating "respectable" villains.)

I'm a huge fan of LeFanu's classic ghost stories, and it was a revelation to me that he could sustain such a pitch of suspense over an entire novel.
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03/17 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jeannie (new) - added it

Jeannie Sloan Thank you for the very good review.I have just received this book from the library and hope to start on this adventure this evening with a roaring fire and candlelight!

message 2: by Kay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kay That sounds like a perfect setting for reading LeFanu. Enjoy!

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