Sara Thompson's Reviews > The Seance

The Seance by John Harwood
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's review
May 12, 2009

really liked it

I put this on request from the library and promptly forgot why, so when it came I had no feelings of eagerness to jump in or anything like that. I enjoy a good gothic novel now and then and this doesn't disappoint.
I can't properly summarize the plot, it's so full of twists and turns and characters. The story is told in six installments, each a story of its own, and from a different character's point of view. I wish I'd read this in December or January - the weather would've been perfect for this atmospheric story.
This is a gothic novel in a Victorian setting penned by a modern male writer. It did occur to me at some point in my reading that this is a book essentially using the theory of the hysterical female as its plot driver, and it's written by a man. Since the typical gothic novel doesn't stray too far into the feelings and behaviors of the female from an insider's perspective, no matter if it was written by a male or female, Harwood has a convenient excuse for writing from the female perspective. I would love to have seen this written by a woman, however.
I was hoping for more of a ghost story, but was quite satisfied with the collision between Victorian fascinations with death, the paranormal, and new scientific research.

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