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The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry
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The Arrow Chest (edition 2011)

by Robert Parry

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171587,099 (4.3)None
Member:BooksPlease
Title:The Arrow Chest
Authors:Robert Parry
Info:Createspace (2011), Paperback, 342 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fiction, Historical Fiction

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The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry

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This was a frustrating book, only because at times I wanted to race ahead to see what happened next, and, at the same time I wanted to read as slowly as possible to savour some of the beautiful writing. As befits a novel about aesthetes in the 1870s, the book is shot through with painting and poetry. I presume Parry is an artist himself, since his evocation of the ‘inner eye’ of the artist was brilliantly done—even I, who could not paint a lamp-post, got a wonderful sense of how a painter looks at the world. Some of the set pieces, such as Tennyson’s poetry reading are marvellous. The descriptive writing, especially of landscape, brings to my mind the colours and textures of Samuel Palmer (rather than the expected Pre-Raphaelites). On one level the plot is a glorious Victorian melodrama. But beneath that surface lies a strong strain of M R James, with an occasional tinge of Edgar Allan Poe. The undercurrent remains an enigma, even at the end. Did something really happen? Is there a real connection and parallel with Ann Boleyn? Is the unworldly companion first encountered in the Tower really there? Or is all this simply a result of too much ‘loddy’? The way in which this is all left open to the reader’s imagination gives an enormous strength, and depth, to this marvellous book. Now to read it again, slowly and reflectively! ( )
1 vote ChrisSterry | Apr 30, 2011 |
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Epigraph
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To Ruby
First words
'Mister Roselli?' The lantern held aloft with its meagre glow hardly cuts the fog that makes it seem like night upon the river, as along the cobbled pavements of the Inner Ward the gentleman approaches.
Quotations
He rides through the world as if on some golden chariot--a world that is filled only with beauty. He has never stopped to contemplate ugliness, not once, because it is invisible to him, and always will be.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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London, 1876. The painter Amos Roselli is in love with his life-long friend and model, the beautiful Daphne - and she with him - until one day she is discovered by another man, a powerful and wealthy industrialist. What will happen when Daphne realises she has sacrificed her happiness to a loveless marriage? What will happen when the artist realises he has lost his most cherished source of inspiration? And how will they negotiate the ever-increasing frequency of strange and bizarre events that seem to be driving them inexorably towards self-destruction. Here, amid the extravagant Neo-Gothic culture of Victorian England, the iconic poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’ blends with mysterious and ghostly glimpses of Tudor history. Romantic, atmospheric and deeply dark.
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Robert Parry is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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