Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber -- Book Review

On my birthday, my husband and boys gave me three books they selected for me from the local bookstore... knowing how much I love to read, it is always a sure bet. The first one I have read was The Book of Air and Shadows, by Michael Gruber. It was originally published in 2007; I have the paperback edition.

This was a very enjoyable read... interesting from the standpoint of being able to learn things about literature, bookbinding, reading old script, perhaps some idea of the attitudes prevalent at the time when Shakespeare lived... At the same time, I liked the style of the writing... it jumped back and forth, intertwining the historical parts with the modern parts...

The author did a nice job of developing some very interesting characters in the book... touching on many different issues... monogamy, abuse of women, dishonesty, greed, the center of the story was a intellectual property lawyer ( whose sister is a madam and whose brother is a Jesuit priest) who was unwittingly drawn into the mystery of the possible existence of an unpublished work of William Shakespeare's.

At many different points in the book, I happened to notice that Catholicism was a part of either the character or the subplot -- was William Shakespeare a Catholic in secret? While the author didn't gloss over certain problems with the Church, neither did he demonize it. In fact, I would say, overall, Catholic beliefs and characters in the book came off pretty well. This was quite refreshing to me.

I recommend reading this book... it was a lot of fun and quite interesting.

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