Kiri's Reviews > Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land

Lord Byron's Novel by John Crowley
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's review
Jan 31, 2012

it was ok
Read from January 31 to February 05, 2012

I read this book ages ago and, coming across it again recently, decided to renew my acquaintance with it. But ... 100 pages in, I'm giving up. The thesis is interesting -- a novel purportedly written by Lord Byron surfaces in modern times, along with notes for the manuscript written by his daughter Ada. That's very cool, not only because the novel contents are entertainingly romantic, but Ada's annotations are informative, based on Byron's actual life, and a neat nod to Ada's efforts in writing Notes for Charles Babbage's writings. Ada is a wonderful historical figure, and I enjoyed seeing (fictional) echoes of her here.

What doesn't work, and is EXCEEDINGLY tedious, is the frame story about the modern characters who find the manuscript / notes and are trying to determine whether it's real. This should work fine, but this part of the story is all told through emails (no narration) and it's clunky and boring to read. It's also oddly out of sync now (e.g., the main character's father asks "What is I suppose I should know how to look for it on the Web, but..." She then proceeds to tell him how to click in the address bar and type in a URL. Really?! These people are communicating by email and he doesn't know how to enter a URL to go somewhere on the web? The book was written in 2005 -- it's not ancient or anything.

So, eventually, I gave up because these modern characters got so annoying. Left alone, I'd totally read the rest of Lord Byron's Novel and Ada's annotations -- but other things are calling for my attention.
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