The Haunting of Charles Dickens (英語) ペーパーバック – 2012/11/13
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"Ruth's delightful black-and-white drawings add atmosphere and interest. If historical mystery fans are not quite up for Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke (Knopf, 1987) or Eleanor Updale's Montmorency (Scholastic, 2004), this book could be a good way to work up to them." --School Library Journal
"Deliciously elaborate... The sights, sounds and stenches of 19th-century London are palpable even without the moody black-and-white illustrations." --Kirkus Reviews
"A rollicking good historical mystery, written in Dickens'style and illustrated with appealing line drawings, which include a subtle tip of the hat to a more contemporary London that a few YA readers may catch." --Booklist
"A charming and gripping tale...Buzbee creates solid characters (and certainly has fun naming them, as did Dickens) and an authentic flavor of Dickensian London, enhanced by Ruth's striking and evocative b&w drawings...while addressing issues of feminism, the search for identity, and child abuse." --Publishers Weekly
"[A] seriously good book...Buzbee draws a realistic vivid picture of 19th century London and manages to capture the "feel" of a Dickens book...The importance of the written word, the printed word, and the authors behind them shines through in this novel." --Goddess Librarian (goddesslibrarian.blogspot.com)
"The themes of valuing friendship, managing adults who have lost their priorities, and connecting people through stories will appeal to kids who have found their own magic in the library." --BCCB on Steinbeck's Ghost
"The story remains an intriguing introduction/companion to Steinbeck's works and imaginatively conveys the power of literature to transport people to another time and place." --Publishers Weekly on Steinbeck's Ghost
"Buzbee's love for literature and libraries is infectious and, for those similarly inclined, deeply satisfying." --Booklist on Steinbeck's Ghost
"Magical realism with Steinbeck's ghost and a discerning young hero." --Kirkus on Steinbeck's Ghost
LEWIS BUZBEE is the author of Steinbeck's Ghost and several books for adults, including The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. A former bookseller, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.
Greg Ruth lives and works in Western Massachusetts with his wife, Jen, and two boys, Emmett and Nathaniel, where he crafts graphic novels, children's picture books, including Coming Home.
|星5つ 57% (57%)||57%|
|星4つ 16% (16%)||16%|
|星3つ 19% (19%)||19%|
|星2つ 8% (8%)||8%|
|星1つ 0% (0%)||0%|
I felt different enjoyment from this book then Buzbee's Steinbeck Ghost. Instead of flowing into each book Steinbeck wrote this one was a whole new mystery featuring Dickens and mentions of his stories. Meg and Dickens are interesting partners. Dickens comes across very fun loving which if you have seen real photos of Dickens you would not think that of him because I have not seen one where he smiles.
This book tells about the dark side of the times for children who worked in labor houses like Dickens did once as a child. So book has a little grittiness to it that makes some it hard to enjoy even though it may be based on facts. Dickens does make it laughable at times by dress in odd suits and meeting odd souls. Good read for Dickens lovers.
Set in Victorian England, the story centers on a girl whose older brother has gone missing. The father of the family runs a print shop which is frequented by Charles Dickens who often comes in to buy high quality paper, so young Meg does know the Great Man. Still, she is nonetheless startled to discover Mr. Dickens crawling about on a nearby roof peering downward at a séance that is taking place in the upper room of one of the houses. (Meg is out there trying to figure out where her brother has gone.) The two become partners in detection as they begin a quest, with the permission of Meg's father, to find Orion, the missing brother.
Buzbee's prose is fabulous! The story moves apace and one is caught up in the characters and the action. One of the more pleasurable aspects of the book is the fact that many of the places and characters that Meg and Dickens encounter along the way have the names that have made appearances in Dickens' books. For example, the seance is being held in Satis House where they eventually find a decaying cake with cobwebs and mice. Being unfamiliar with Dickens' books would not hinder the enjoymnet of this one, but I feel certain that after reading this book, most young readers would certainly undertake to read them, starting with *Great Expectations*, which figures largely in Meg's own reading in Buzbee's book. (Caveat: Buzbee does slip and let it be known who Pip's benefactor actually was.)
At the end of the book, there is a three-page appendix entitled "Children and Charles Dickens," which explains the important role that Dickens played in effecting child labor laws and other laws curbing the exploitation of children in the streets of London, which he knew first-hand from his own time on the streets as a boy. It is a good addendum to the book, but it does contain my only complaint about the book, Buzbee's reference to the "ragged" schools of the age as "pitiful." Education was not compulsory in England until 1870, but that did not stop members of the public from reaching out to the street children and providing them with the rudiments of reading and writing with a view toward helping them find decent employment when and how they could. Were they perfect? Far from it. But led by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, they were hardly pitiful. Dickens was invited by those running the street schools to join in the effort, and it is true that he found them wanting in some areas; however, since we know that our own twenty-first century schools have sunk to "creative spelling" and the so-called "reform mathematics," I hardly think we can turn up our noses at folks who were fighting ignorance and want with virtually no resources on the streets of early Victorian London.
That aside, however, I do indeed love and highly recommend this novel. More, please, Mr. Buzbee.
The novel is filled with historical details, made all the more vivid by the illustrations of Greg Ruth, and drawing readers into the dark underbelly of London during the time. The historical details blend in with the story and bring this period to life, and as a reader, I felt transported into the London of the past, with all its bleakness and despair. The author masterfully recreates the period and lends the work a high level of credibility, a crucial ingredient for the success of a historical novel. Even the language used is for the most part faithful to the time period. The only drawback is that at times, the overly descriptive language can get a wee bit tedious, but other than that, I felt the author did an excellent job recreating 19th century London.
Credible, in-depth characterization is another important element I look for in a work of fiction, and Meg Pickel is a character that young adults will easily relate to. She is full of pluck and derring-do (walking on rooftops at night!); is observant and candid; curious and intelligent. It was heartening to see a strong female character in a story set in a period when females were for the most part subservient to men.
I loved this story and look forward to more of such from the author. I hope this book finds a fan following among young adults, and it would be wonderful if this motivates teenagers to look up the classics of English literature written by Charles Dickens, such as Great Expectations (my favorite of Dickens' novels), and David Copperfield, among many others.
In this story, Charles Dickens is of course a huge presence, but the main character is actually Meg, a printer's daughter looking for her missing brother. Mr. Dickens is a friend of Meg's family, for he purchases his writing paper from the printshop.
While Meg is haunted by her missing brother, Orion, Mr. Dickens is haunted by the lack of a story. He's got a big case of writer's block. Mr. Dickens helps Meg find Orion, and at the same time, Meg helps Mr. Dickens find his story. It's a wonderful detective story, set in bustling London, with a variety of interesting characters, good and bad. It should be noted that the city itself is a character - the descriptions make you feel as if you are walking the cobblestone streets, peering into grimy warehouses, and trying to stop a ring of people from stealing children.
Although this is marketed as a book for ages 10-14, I found it very interesting and worth reading as an adult. The use of language from that time was quite interesting (and not at all stuffy!); I found myself looking words up in the dictionary both to learn their meaning and to find out if they would have been used in that time period (they always were). In addition, I am fascinated with the old printing process (and collect printers' type), and found the description quite interesting - and educational (without being boring) for those who have no idea the work that used to be involved.
A note about the illustrations: unfortunately my ARC is missing some of them... but the ones included are quite evocative.
I look forward to reading more of this author's work.
In this novel, Dickens is a harried, worried, obsessive man. Yet his heart is gentle with the suffering children of London. His friendship with the publisher's daughter, Meg, turns the tale from biographical exploration into a mystery of the disappearance of Meg's brother, Orion. Can they find him through a seance?
The streets of London come alive under Buzbee's sure hand and strong research. The characters of Meg, a little girl who wants more from her life than being a wife and mother, and of Charles, a man who wants his life back after celebrity comes calling, are both strong and sympathetic.
The one star withheld arises from some odd diction--gobbledygook (dictionary says coined in 1944) and "rabbit hole," more of an Alice-in-Wonderland metaphor than 1862 would allow.
Without this nitpicking however the book is strongly recommended for the story line and the magnetism of the characters.
Missing Orion desperately, one night Meg herself goes rooftop hopping and happens upon a mansion who's green glow light beckons Meg toward it. Arriving to look down into the skylight of this haunting dark house, she not only sees a seance going on below, but crashes into Charles Dickens doing the very same thing! Together they watch the calamitous table-rapping event below, and Meg thinks she sees her brother attending.
The story thus begins with Dickens and Meg collaborating together to start a hunt for Orion. As I moved along into the meat of the story I very quickly had thoughts of dismay at how the story was written and at the level of excitement I was receiving for a story that should have contained more. Half way through I had to stop and just could not move on. I was that bored. I certainly would find it very hard to believe that kids now a days would enjoy this long drawn out story, or the Dickensian writing style that it was penned in. For a children's novel it was quite dense with a lot of meandering text and rambling dialog that I felt went nowhere, nor added any spice to the story.
As for the characters, I didn't really fall in love with them either. The father was very hopeless, Meg is bright and I loved her spunk, but at the same time she was a spoiled brat. Mr. Dickens himself, was portrayed as a self serving egotist continually referring to himself as "The Great Man'. Just within the first half of the book, many MANY references were made to Dickens' works, his characters, his books, and in non-chalant ways other authors works were thrown in as well. It was over the top too much and I felt this tactic wasnt working for me. I wanted to find somthing to latch on to in order to keep me reading, but at midpoint nothing yet had come my way so I closed the door.
I can see that the author was paying homage to Dickens, but at the same time the way he executed it was just not so hot. I can handout a few points for trying to be creative but that's as generous as I can be here. I am not a reader to not finish many books, but I am a reader who refuses to waste time on finishing books that I don't enjoy or feel are not very well done. There are way too many great books out there to waste precious reading hours on the ones we feel don't work for us. This reader said to herself "move on". I do have a feeling that this book will bring many readers delight as well as other readers agreeing with me. Reviews on this story just might be a matter of personal choice as to how well it is received.
Sorry folks, can't really recommend this one too highly.
I wanted to love this, I really did. I adored Buzbee's memoir about bookstores, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History, and was looking forward to his foray into young adult fiction. And in many ways, I did like it. Meg's an appealing character, brave and clever, and Buzbee's portrayal of Dickens is convincing. He has a good feel for the atmosphere of Victorian London and for Dickens' concern for social issues.
However, one thing just kept bouncing me out of the narrative: the constant references to Dickens' works and other cultural references. Since the story is set while Dickens was working on Our Mutual Friend, I could maybe accept the use of some of those characters' name: possibly Dickens could have met someone named Jenny Wren, for instance, and decided to reuse the name. But major characters named Mr. Micawber and Bill Sikes? Names unremarked by Meg or by Dickens himself? And worse than that, Meg and Dickens visit a street called Penny Lane, inhabited by a pretty nurse selling poppies and four young men cleaning a fire engine? It's all just too twee and clever for me.
This may work for younger readers better than adults, though, as they're less likely to notice and be bothered by the references.
In Victorian London, young Meg is distressed by the disappearance of her brother Orion six months earlier. One night, Meg notices a strange light and follows it to the scene of a fraudulent séance. But upon leaving, Meg is convinced she saw her brother, alive and well. Along with the help of famous author Charles Dickens, a man suffering from his own haunting, the two investigate Orion's disappearance.
Despite the brief séance, and a couple ghost sightings, there are no other fantasy aspects to the story. At its heart, this is a mystery and history lesson into Charles Dickens and the social injustices in London of the time. While the plot seems promising and cleverly written in Dickens-like flowery style, the pacing is much too slow for a middle readers' novel. The mystery and big reveal at the end was anti-climatic. I wanted so much to like this story, that I found myself unfortunately disappointed. Though the character of Meg and her heroics and the creative use of Dickens as a central character were engaging and fun, these were not enough to save the story for me.
I don't see many young readers sticking with it until the end.
I love books about books, authors and the act of reading. "The Book Thief" and "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" are two recent examples of books that successfully incorporate the theme of books into their respective narratives. This book, however, fails to do so. The literary references abound to the degree that the reader feels like he's being beaten to death by them. The real setting of the story and the "coincidental" ties to Dickens' novels really never come together and the reader is left more perplexed than anything. The story suppossedly takes place just after the publication of "Great Expectations" (1861), but the villian happens to be named Bill Sikes? (Oliver Twist, 1837) Meg, the protagonist, has thoughts of what it would be like to live on an island with pirates and never grow up? (Peter Pan, yet to be published). Or she imagines she wins a trip to a chocolate factory for a tour (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, yet to be published.) Seriously, Meg channels all of England's future literary masterpieces in her mind decades before the books are written? The narrative is replete with such hokey references. Mr. Buzbee even uses the famous opening line of "Pride and Prejudice" to move the narrative along! (It is a truth universally acknowledged...). The worst part is that the young adult readers to which this book is targeted won't even recognize these references. But, perhaps the book is better if one doesn't because it comes across as an insincere attempt to mash as many literary references together. On top of all this, the plot is quite dull and the writing very sloggy. I know of no young adult reader who would like this book. Instead, I would encourage them to read "Great Expectations".