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The Quincunx (1989)

av Charles Palliser

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

Serier: The Quincunx (Complete)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,139475,267 (4.11)129
A young man searching for his origins is drawn from the Northern England countryside into the violent and corrupt London underworld of the late Regency.
  1. 70
    Rosens namn av Umberto Eco (Booksloth)
  2. 10
    Den fjärde sanningen av Iain Pears (bookfitz)
  3. 10
    Himlakroppar av Eleanor Catton (Limelite)
    Limelite: Another neo-Victorian complex mystery novel but set in New Zealand.
  4. 00
    Den amerikanske pojken av Andrew Taylor (loccaro)
  5. 00
    The Magicians and Mrs. Quent av Galen Beckett (feeling.is.first)
    feeling.is.first: Complex Victorian world-building. Mrs Quent is set in alternate reality, while Quincunx is set in Dickens' London.
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» Se även 129 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 47 (nästa | visa alla)
I'm shelving this for now. It's a re-read for me, one of my favorite books. But I don't have the energy to re-read it atm. I'll have to do it in a few months. ( )
  tjglaser | Jul 31, 2020 |
I'm shelving this for now. It's a re-read for me, one of my favorite books. But I don't have the energy to re-read it atm. I'll have to do it in a few months. ( )
  tjglaser | Jul 31, 2020 |
By most sane standards this is a ridiculous book. At least four times as long as the average modern novel, with a vast family-inheritance-saga plot that brings in just about every element of 19th century life that you remember from Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Henry Mayhew, Thackeray, Trollope, the Brontës, and many other English 19th-century writers (there's even a little echo of The prisoner of Zenda at one point...).

Not quite everything: the chapter in which Our Hero finds himself forced to work in a hellish Lancashire cotton mill seems to have been inadvertently missed out, and there's a mysterious absence of any serious discussion of religion. But we get shady lawyers, complex financial transactions, missing documents, elopements, murders, street crime, poverty, prostitution, burglary, body-snatching, "schools" and "lunatic asylums" that are nothing more than places to imprison inconvenient family-members, domestic service, enclosures, workhouses, stage-coaches, a public hanging, a tour of the London sewers, and much, much more.

There's even some entertaining nineteenth-century spelling to keep us amused, with (too) much play being made with sopha, lanthorn, visiter, shore (for sewer), and the like. And a few chapters in the central section are from the diary of a female narrator who can't spell at all...

So it's hardly surprising if, as Palliser complains in his 1992 afterword, this is a book that most readers just treat as a clever pastiche of the Victorian novel and some took as a satire on Mrs Thatcher's "Victorian values". (The action of the book takes place in the 1820s, so it's not really "Victorian" at all, but many of Dickens's and Collins's novels were set in the same pre-railway period.)

Palliser is simply too much the academic literary scholar, keen to use his expertise to tell us as much as he possibly can about the type of things that would have been going on in the minds of his nineteenth-century characters, and it all rather swamps his grand literary design for the book. We're more or less forced to notice that there's something going on with fivefold patterns (five parts, each divided into five books, each containing five chapters), and we're never quite as convinced as the narrator is that we've been given a complete solution to the mysteries of the plot, but there's just so much detail for us to keep track of that there's very little incentive to do what Palliser is apparently expecting the reader to do and work out alternative ways of making sense of the inter-relationships between the characters, different from the family-trees he helpfully scatters in our path.

The ending is a kind of clumsy compromise between our need for some sort of neat closure that would allow the narrator to stop work and the author's need to show that this is a book written in the late 20th century when no-one believes that literature has a place for fully-determined stories any more, but I doubt if many readers will follow the example of the apocryphal friend of the author who was so thrown off by the ambiguity in the last sentence that he went back to the beginning and started again. Life's too short! ( )
  thorold | Apr 21, 2020 |
This is the longest book I've read in a while, but it was fantastic. Read during a beach vacation and it kept my attention the entire time. Twisty and sneaky and lovely.

It's very Dickensian - which is usually not something I enjoy, but it's made me wonder whether I shouldn't give Great Expectations, etc. a second change. ( )
  liz.mabry | May 13, 2019 |
From the time of its release, my friends and I were all fascinated by Oliver Stone's film JFK. We'd watch it together and discuss such for hours, debating the motives and agency each suspect would have. This continued for many years and I'd wager if circumstances allowed such, we'd all still gather and view the film again. Most of us were never drawn to the literature surrounding the assassination, by which I mean the myriad accounts and theorists who created an additional universe of sinister possibility from that sunny afternoon in Dallas. By consensus our chief complaint was the too- tidy character of X, played with aplomb by Donald Sutherland. This walking Rosetta Stone meets Jim Garrison at Arlington National and proceeds to connect all the dots in Garrison's investigation. We'd groan with how connected it would thus appear. My problem with Quincunx was very similar. The primary characters would make impossibly stupid decisions, regroup and continue. This extends for 800 pages and about a dozen horrifying situations. Nearing collapse, the reader is more fortunate than John Huffam as a whole cadre of Donald Sutherlands step forward and reveal ALL the veiled areas of the multifaceted plot. I could deal with that. What was indigestible was the dearth of humor. There's hardly a crackle of hilarity in the entire tome. One would imagine this titular homage (John Huffam are Dickens' two middle names) to Dickens would contain some of the master's black mischief. This isn't the case.

I tip my hat to Kris and Aloha. I hectored them into reading this. I hope it wasn't painful. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Visa 1-5 av 47 (nästa | visa alla)
'"The Quincunx" deserves the hoopla; it's an astonishing imitation, a Borgesian feat of sustained imaginative anachronism, the fictional equivalent of Colonial Williamsburg.'
 
"Quintuple the length of the ordinary novel, this extraordinary tour de force also has five times the ordinary allotment of adventure, action and aplomb."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraPublishers Weekly (Jan 1, 1990)
 
"Palliser's first novel is an extraordinary achievement: a triple-decker (800-page) Victorian pastiche, obviously modeled on Bleak House, unfolding the staggeringly complex tale of young John Huffam's attempts to ward off ruin and death until he can solve multiple family mysteries."
 

» Lägg till fler författare (7 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Palliser, Charlesprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Jonkers, RonaldÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Phillips, JennyIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Quid Quincunce speciosius, qui, in quamcunque partem spectaveris, rectus est? (Quintillian)
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For My Mother
(4th May 1919—22nd February 1989)
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It must have been late autumn of that year, and probably it was towards dusk for the sake of being less conspicuous.
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This is the omnibus of the 5 Quincunx books, do not combine single split books into it.

Amendment: Originally published as one volume in English language editions, this was subsequently published as five separate books in France and some other countries - The individual editions should not be combined with the single volume English editions, the English listing on Amazon with the subtitle 'The Inheritance of John Huffam' is for a combined edition and is not in fact 'part 1'; the same goes for the Dutch edition 'De Quincunx : de erfenis van John Huffam', which is a translation of the complete work.
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A young man searching for his origins is drawn from the Northern England countryside into the violent and corrupt London underworld of the late Regency.

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