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The Man from Beyond: A Novel af Gabriel…
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The Man from Beyond: A Novel (udgave 2005)

af Gabriel Brownstein (Forfatter)

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352542,851 (2.8)1
It is April 1922. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrives in New York on a spiritualist crusade. To packed houses at Carnegie Hall, he displays photographs of ghosts and spirits; of female mediums bound and gagged, ectoplasmic goo emerging from their bodies. In the newspapers, he defends the powers of the mysterious Margery, one of the most famous mediums of the day. His good friend Harry Houdini is a skeptic, and when Doyle claims Margery's powers are superior to Houdini's, the magician goes on the attack. Into this mix of spirit-chasing celebrities enters Molly Goodman, a young reporter whose job is to cover the heated debate. As she wanders into this world of spooks and spirits, murder and criminal frauds, Molly discovers herself: her true love, her place in the world; even her relationship to her beloved dead brother, Carl.… (mere)
Medlem:ligature
Titel:The Man from Beyond: A Novel
Forfattere:Gabriel Brownstein (Forfatter)
Info:W. W. Norton (2005), Edition: 1St Edition, 320 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:used, 2016, february 2016, from: church basement, price: 2.00

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The Man From Beyond: A Novel af Gabriel Brownstein

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Hot on the heels of last year's ARTHUR AND GEORGE readers are faced with yet another highly fictionalized account of an episode in the life of Sherlock Holmes' creator Arthur Conan Doyle. Set against the backdrop of the much-publicized 1922 press battle between Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini over the question of Spiritualism, Brownstein weaves an oddly multi-layered story that deftly blends questions of religious belief, real historical events and characters with a pointlessly contrived murder mystery thread involving the medium Margery and an attempt on Houdini's life. To guide us through this strange mish-mash, and complicate the narrative with a sub-plot exploring the social life of stereotypical `Golden Ghetto Jews', we have young reporter Molly Goodman. Covering the story of Lady Jean's automatic writing episode in Atlantic City, Goodman finds herself drawn into the Spiritualist debate, gaining the confidence of both Houdini and Doyle, giving her fledgling career a much needed boost. The medium Margery, and her husband the enigmatic Dr. Sabatier, are introduced into the mix creating even greater conflict between the supportive, and gullible, Spiritualist crusader and the skeptical magician. Things come to a head when Houdini is believed dead after a stunt promoting his new film "The Man From Beyond" goes horribly, and inexplicably wrong; allowing both Doyle and Molly to play detective.

The Man From Beyond can be a rather confusing read for those familiar with the actual events and people that form the backdrop to this entirely fictional story. To emphasize the fictional nature of the tale Brownstein has made some strange alterations: Doyle has two children named Timothy and Joanna, the medium Margery is here renamed Mary Twist instead of Mina Crandon, her husband is named Dr. Hugo Sabatier instead of Dr. Le Roi Goddard Crandon, psychic investigator J. Malcolm Bird becomes Dingwall Bird and is given some odd experiments as a sideline, and so on... To complicate matters further Houdini did in fact investigate Margery, but not until 1924-1925, and at no time did he and Conan Doyle attend her séance together. However, there are some wonderful real incidents effectively covered in the book including a faithful account of the Lady Jean automatic writing incident and Conan Doyle's stunt-showing of The Lost World footage at a meeting of the The Society of American Magicians. While Brownstein takes Houdini and Conan Doyle down some rather strange paths during the course of the novel, he is remarkably successful in creating very credible and authentic portraits of each man.

Bottom line: A largely appealing read that unfortunately works best as a character study of Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini rather than as a cohesive fantasy thriller. While time, place, characters and certain events are vividly recreated, the fantastical mystery elements and Molly Goodman thread sideline the strengths leading to an ultimately unsatisfying conclusion. ( )
  CharlesPrepolec | Dec 22, 2018 |
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"They say miracles are past, and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear."
-Lafew, in Williams Shakespeare's "All's Well That Ends Well"
"There is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace."
-Sherlock Holmes, in Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Case of Identity"
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sprawls in a beach chair.
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It is April 1922. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrives in New York on a spiritualist crusade. To packed houses at Carnegie Hall, he displays photographs of ghosts and spirits; of female mediums bound and gagged, ectoplasmic goo emerging from their bodies. In the newspapers, he defends the powers of the mysterious Margery, one of the most famous mediums of the day. His good friend Harry Houdini is a skeptic, and when Doyle claims Margery's powers are superior to Houdini's, the magician goes on the attack. Into this mix of spirit-chasing celebrities enters Molly Goodman, a young reporter whose job is to cover the heated debate. As she wanders into this world of spooks and spirits, murder and criminal frauds, Molly discovers herself: her true love, her place in the world; even her relationship to her beloved dead brother, Carl.

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