logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Bellman-and-Black
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-04 13:58
Bellman & Black
Bellman & Black - Diane Setterfield

I have a bit of a love/apathy relationship with Diane Setterfield’s novels (all two of them). I think her prose is gorgeous. I think her plots and characters are boring. But enough time passed between her first novel and her second that I only remembered the former and forgot about the latter until I was reminded as I plodded through Bellman & Black. If she takes the better part of another decade to write her next book, I’ll probably forget again.

 

This book was originally advertised as a dark, atmospheric, Gothic ghost story. I guess enough people complained, because my mass market paperback version omits the “ghost story” part of the description. And rightly so.

 

This is not so much a Gothic ghost story as it is (in my opinion) a character study about a Victorian era businessman-savant who probably suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and maybe a congenital heart defect. Included is a bunch of bonus content on how rooks are pretty much vindictive avian assholes.

 

If you want to read about how a Victorian textile mill might’ve been run in tedious, excruciating but beautifully written detail, or if you’ve ever wondered how one might go about building a mourning emporium from the ground up in Victorian London, boy howdy! this is the book for you. If you want to read a chilling Gothic ghost story, pass on by, folks. Nothing to see here.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-03-29 18:40
Fabulous Finds Friday (or, uh, Sunday)
Women of Wonder, the Classic Years: Science Fiction by Women from the 1940s to the 1970s - Anne McCaffrey,Joan D. Vinge,Ursula K. Le Guin,Leigh Brackett,Joanna Russ,James Tiptree Jr.,Marion Zimmer Bradley,Zenna Henderson,C.L. Moore,Vonda N. McIntyre,Katherine MacLean,Pamela Zoline,Pamela Sargent,Margaret St. Clair,Eleanor Arnason,Josephine Saxt
Lifelode - Jo Walton,Sharyn November
Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life - Terry Brooks
The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett
Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story - Diane Setterfield
Marvel Comics: The Secret History of Marvel Comics - Sean Howe

I made my usual trek to the used bookstore on Friday, but I haven't been online much lately due to stress headaches. Found some cool stuff, though.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-03-24 17:06
Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story - Diane Setterfield
Bellman and Black: A Ghost Story - Diane Setterfield

As a novel about a Victorian man who makes his fortune by clever planning in business, I liked it okay. The book dealt kindly with aging and grief and the trauma of grief on a large scale. But I thought it was supposed to be a ghost story, so I kept waiting for that aspect, and kept being disappointed. Fundamentally, I suppose I just didn't get it. Wonderfully moody though.

 

Personal copy

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-06-29 04:38
Bellman & Black
Bellman & Black: A Novel - Diane Setterfield

When William Bellman is a child, he uses his catapult to hit a rook on a tree that is much too far away. Against all odds, and to the amazement of his boyhood friends and his own chagrin, Young Will’s shot makes the perfect arc, and the bird is killed. Adding insult to injury, the dead bird is then used as a plaything by Will’s friends until they lose interest in it and toss it away. The next day, Will develops a fever, and as his blood warms, he accomplishes an even greater feat than killing the distant rook: he manages to forget the whole thing ever happened.

 

This one event symbolizes the rest of Bellman’s life. Just like the stone’s arc, Will’s life begins to rush forward and upward, and with great momentum, Will attains blessings and prosperity greater than he dared to dream. Everything he touches turns to gold. Then one day…just as the stone’s arc turns downward, so do the events in Bellman’s home life.

Bellman, who was so good at forgetting, ended up forgetting much of what is genuinely important in life, and only at the end of his days does he truly learn the value of Memory and Thought.

 

I enjoyed the story, the writing, the symbolism, the snippets of rook mythology and information. The narrator takes time to weave the tale, and I felt the pacing was perfect. There’s a strong message in here that I, in the hurriedness of my day to day life, would do well to keep it mind: At the end of my days, what will matter is not the money I made or the empire I built, but my relationships with others and the memories we made along the way.

 

I received a copy of Bellman & Black from the publisher via Netgalley, which in no way influenced my review.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-06-14 00:00
Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story
Bellman & Black - Diane Setterfield There was potential. Interesting atmosphere, nice writing. Then it went on, in detail, about the running of a mill. Then, an emporium. It went on, and on, and on.

They set up mysterious details. Some interesting bits to keep me wanting to read. But then it followed through on none of them, and when it did, it was an underwhelming yawn-fest.

If you want to read about a boring over-worked man running a company, this is the book for you. (though I admittedly question your taste a little)
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?