Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prospero's Mirror

Prospero's Mirror, by A. N. Donaldson

Last year when I did Gothic October, I found a really neat podcast all about M. R. James stories.  I'm still listening to it, and a little while ago they did an interview with A. N. Donaldson, who has written a short novel featuring James as the protagonist (much like the mysteries starring Jane Austen, I guess).  It's a Kindle book, and only a buck, so I thought I'd try it out.  While the storyline is intriguing, I was disappointed in certain things Donaldson did with James' character and I don't recommend you spend a buck on it too.

The story is that an elderly James is called to visit Cambridge's "Old College" to help an old friend figure out what to do with an antique stone mirror they've found hidden away in a disused corner.  James examines the mirror and discovers papers about it relating to its use in the great plague of 1666.

It's a creepy story all right, and much of it is quite interesting, but for me Donaldson went too far with James' character.  It was just icky.  I was disappointed.

I do, however, really enjoy A Podcast for the Curious, in which two guys talk about James and his stories.  They are a lot of fun.  It was from them that I learned that there are a couple of people in Britain who do read-aloud performances of James stories in old houses every so often, and then I found out that they  happen at L. M. Boston's house, the model for Green Knowe!  I cannot think of a neater way to spend an evening.

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