10 Dec 2011
Review: "The London Satyr" by Robert Edric
Hello again, it's been a while since I last blogged. My only excuse is that it has been really really busy. December always is, isn't it? So have done very little reading and even less blogging and I've missed it. One of the books I have recently finished reading is "The London Satyr" by Robert Edric, a book that I had wanted to read badly for a few months and that I had really high hopes for... Unfortunately it just did not do it for me.
The plot was definitely good, a good story. The narrator, photographer Charles Webster, is a rather anonymous man. He has a nice house and a nice wife and a daughter that he doesn't understand but that he... well... likes. He has a good-enough job and colleagues that he likes. And then he has a little job on the side that is the only exciting thing going on in his life. Working as the in-house photographer at the Lyceum theatre in London, he has access to costumes and props and once in a while, he secretly loans out to a rather creepy man named Marlow. Marlow, you see, is in quite a different line of business... He runs a pornography business and needs the props and costumer to spice up the photographies that he makes a fortune producing and selling illegally. Not the sort of man that a good, proper Victorian middle class man should associate with.
As the summer heat scorches London, Webster is sweating - but not just because of the weather, also because the authorities have decided to crack down on the illegal pornography trade and his whole life would tumble down like a house of cards caught by the wind.
So far so good. I really liked the plot and as I work very close to the Lyceum, I enjoyed reading about all the places that I visit every day. However, the let down (for me) was in the characters. Charles Webster is just not a character that I would want to know in real life, to tell you the truth, he is rather boring and that made it a bit hard to really get interested in the story... What frustrated me was that the characters I found interesting were the least developed characters. I especially found Webster's domineering, annoying and not-that-bright daughter interesting because she really changes her behavior and grows (though not in a good way) but Edric does not really take the opportunity to explore this or give us an insight to why this is or how it affects the family. Too bad because that would have been quite interesting. Instead the focus is on the chase which leads to dramatic-ish end which I did think was really good. However, not enough to make it a book that I would re-read, unfortunately...
Read it if: You are going to London soon and plan on visiting the Lyceum theatre. If you love your men middle-aged, spineless, bad at showing emotions and somewhat boring...