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The Book of Speculation : A Novel

Walmart # 556093569

The Book of Speculation : A Novel

Walmart # 556093569
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Electrode, Comp-447755186, DC-prod-dfw5, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-26.20.0, SHA-38e78de46db1a394393656b0979b8716e9fdfcf0, CID-57f978a0-aa1-1673b4c9c480e1,57f978a0-aa1-1673b4c9c485f2,57f978a0-aa1-1673b4c9c485f2

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Simon is a research libra

Simon is a research librarian who is suddenly let go from his financially struggling library. His sister, Enola, a circus performer/tarot card reader, suddenly returns to visit, just as their home is in jeopardy of falling over a cliff due to erosion. When a mysterious antique book which chronicles the history of a circus is sent to Simon with little explanation, Simon's research into the book unexpectedly leads him to the history of his own family. Alternating chapters are used to tell the story of the circus performers, including the leader, a tarot-card reader, a mute young man, and a diver, who can hold her breath for long periods of time under water. As the book moves towards the historic date when Simon's mother and grandmother both drowned, Simon fears that his sister's life is in jeopardy from some long forgotten curse somehow related to the circus in the book. I found this to be an interesting and well-written story about early circus life, which was both suspenseful and engaging. Our book club members all enjoyed this one as well.

"The book is a beautifull

"The book is a beautifully broken window with an obstructed view of what is killing us, and something is definitely killing us." "Perhaps the book opened a door; books have a way of causing ripples." Simon Watson is a young librarian, living in a sleepy town, on Long Island. His days are quiet and uneventful, but his life takes a sharp left turn, when he receives a mysterious package. It turns out to be a journal, detailing the events of a traveling carnival, from the 1700s. Mesmerized, Simon reads deeper, and begins to realize that he has a family connection to these strange, mystical people. There may also be answers here, to the untimely deaths of his mother and grandmother. Fans of Water For Elephants and The Night Circus, should find pleasure here. I do not think it as solid as either of those reads but Swyler has a certain flair, for the written word and she has a quick, inventive mind. I just wish she could have had a stronger narrative flow. The story did bog down at times. I still give this a gentle thumbs up, so if are hearing the siren call, give it a go!

Tolstoy may have noted th

Tolstoy may have noted that "each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way", but it may also be true that each family that loves each other loves in its own way. That's certainly the case in Erika Swyler's The Book of Speculation, a whimsical, magical and yet well-grounded novel about mermaids who drown and a heritage that finds each generation without them even seeking it. In the present day, Simon Watson seems the quietest and dullest of men. He works as a reference librarian and lives in his late parents' house, which is starting to fall apart around him as it perches on the edge of an inhospitable Northeastern coast. His retired neighbor Frank is over constantly, mending the house and cajoling Simon into having serious work done on it. Frank's daughter, Alice, also works at the library. The only things not grounded about Simon's life are his own relatives. His mother drowned when he and his sister, Enola, were young. He raised his sister while his father took years to die, sitting at the kitchen table. He and his sister can hold their breath underwater for unreal lengths of time. Enola travels with a carnival, reading Tarot cards. She's getting near the age when their mother walked into the ocean and she's finally made one of her infrequent phone calls. She's coming home. Simon also receives an old book from a rare books seller in the Midwest. It's not a normal book. There are sketches and tales of a traveling show on the road. There is the story of a mute boy who wandered into Peabody's traveling menagerie, an old fortune teller and a young woman who arrived in terror. Each member of the troupe has suffered loss and each can do something no one else can. The boy, who the fortune teller names Amos, can breathe slowly and disappear. The fortune teller has an affinity for a hand-drawn Tarot deck that goes beyond sideshow tales. The woman was enchanted by a carnival man who disappeared, and who killed the one who tried to prevent her from repeating her mother's sorrowful mistake. Peabody makes her a mermaid act. The mute and the mermaid fall in love, but it is not a happy tale. In alternating chapters, Simon's life is starting to fall apart. He and Alice realize they are even closer than they have always been, but Simon loses his job in these days when libraries are not treasured. And the book he was sent -- it draws him in as surely as the water has drawn in generations of the women in their family. Swyler's alternating stories veer more toward the magic than the real. But whether the things that happened can be explained rationally or not, what remains real and true are the ways in which the characters care for each other. Motives are revealed that explain characters' actions and enrich their personalities. There are few villains -- even the most selfish are seeking love or forgiveness. There is evil, however, and at one point Simon fears it lives in the objects he loves most, including books. It's a terrifying notion for anyone who loves books as Simon does. For a novel in which many of the characters are hurting deeply, there is little that is morose, in part because Swyler can rely on a narrative voice that resembles a fairy tale. Like a fairy tale, by the time The Book of Speculation has come to an end, connections are made and resolutions have come to pass. Unlike many fairy tales, there is the knowledge here that things go on and that the characters still have life to experience. And that whatever that experience is, it will include each other.

This novel started out st

This novel started out strong and captivated my interest. It follows a common structure of alternating chapters between viewpoints, only they are parallel stories of different time periods. Although I enjoyed some of the writing, there were a lot of unanswered questions and the reader is left with a jumbled feeling.

Simon is a librarian who

Simon is a librarian who has just lost his job. His old house is falling apart around him and he can't afford to fix it. His has pretty much raised his sister, Enola, but she's been gone for a long time. She reads tarot cards for a travelling circus. When a bookseller gives him a book with his grandmother's name in it, he starts researching. He discovers that the women in previous generations of his family all drowned on July 24. When Enola comes home to visit close to that date, he is worried. The book goes back and forth in time, following Simon's life and back in time, following the circus that one of his ancestors belonged to. At first, I didn't mind the historical portion of the story, but somewhere along the way, much of that part of the story lost my interest, though I still enjoyed Simon and Enola's portion of the story. Overall, it was ok.
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