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The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel by…

The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Michael Gruber

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1,829833,821 (3.43)97
Title:The Book of Air and Shadows: A Novel
Authors:Michael Gruber
Info:Harper Paperbacks (2008), Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber (2007)

  1. 62
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (nicchic)
  2. 20
    Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: A similar literary thriller plot - a young woman unravels a puzzle that may lead to the whereabouts of a lost Shakespeare manuscript, but she's also being chased by a killer who is murdering Shakespeare scholars and staging them to resemble his plays. I preferred Interred with Their Bones as I found the characters significantly more likeable.… (more)
  3. 20
    Possession by A. S. Byatt (Imprinted)
  4. 10
    The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Another multi-POV, multi-narrator mystery.
  5. 21
    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (starfishian)
  6. 00
    Codex by Lev Grossman (Jannes)
    Jannes: Mysterious manuscripts, bookish femme fatales, old libraries... if you liked one, you'll probably enjoy the other.
  7. 00
    Gospel by Wilton Barnhardt (BobNolin)
    BobNolin: Gospel was a lot more fun to read, but the two are very similar. There is an ancient text interwoven into the current day story (Gruber does the better job of faking an ancient text, in my opinion). There is a hunt for said manuscript. And the finding of it will change recorded history. Great stuff.… (more)
  8. 00
    The Intelligencer by Leslie Silbert (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: The Intelligencer is a literary thriller that traces playwright Christopher Marlowe gathering intelligence for Elizabeth I as well as a modern day scholar and PI who is investigating a manuscript that may shed light on Marlowe's untimely demise.

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» See also 97 mentions

English (81)  Tagalog (1)  German (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
I can't help but compare this with a couple other books I've read recently (bear with me), which are similar in that they have a mystery/thriller plot with elements of personal/self relationship interspersed. From one end of the spectrum to the other, we have Big Little Lies, Station Eleven, The Bone Clocks, and this Book of Air and Shadows. In BLL, the plot is almost beside the point, which is character and relationship. Station Eleven has an interesting but not intricate plot, and the relationships inform plot developments. In Bone Clocks, the best of the lot, plot is what makes the book, but relationships inform and drive the plot. In this book, the mystery and plot are easily the strongest element, and the relationships only marginally advance the plot. Sometimes they just distract. ( )
  randalrh | Mar 7, 2015 |
I enjoyed reading this book; it was definitely fun and I looked forward to the unveiling of the plot's twists and turns.

But...the story was a bit TOO fantastical, considering that it was trying to take itself seriously. I'm just as ready to suspend reality as the next gal when I'm reading fiction, but come on. Really? ( )
  ratastrophe | Oct 5, 2014 |
We sold our house! We are house hunting! We are moving! Soon! So, I'm releasing all BookCrossing books that I stumble upon so we don't have to pack/move/unpack them in whatever we find. We're downsizing, so the book collection gets thinned again.

Hopefully, I'll be able to find another copy of this book sometime.
  bookczuk | Jan 12, 2014 |
Part Possession part The Last Templar part Dan Brown and part lame. The language in this books shows such promise at first but deteriorates into an over ambitious confusing story. The parts where Gruber writes about cinema, life and art are breathtakingly brilliant. The parts where he dissolves the fourth wall are cringingly bad.[return][return]I thought the old English in the alternating chapters would give me a headache at first but the story was so captivating and humorous it pulled me through. [return][return]'it was just like in the movies.' Thus, although life is by and large unthrilling, when we do find ourselves in the sort of situation upon which thrillers dote we cannot really experience it, because our imaginations are occupied by the familiar tropes of popular fiction. And the result of this is a kind of dull bafflement, and the sense that whatever it is cannot be really happening. We actually think that phrase: this can't be happening to me.[return][return]A retired Polish spy is taking about the merit of films;[return][return]'If film or any art form for that matter has not some moral basis then you might as well look at flickering patterns, or random scenes. Now I do not say what is this moral basis, only that there should be one. Pagan hedonism is a perfectly acceptable moral basis for a work of art, for example, as in Hollywood. Domestic bliss. Romance. It does not have to be ... what is the word? Where the villain always dies and the hero gets the girl ...' [return]'Melodrama.'[return]'Just so. But not nothing. Not the devil laughing at us, or not only that. '[return]'Why not? If that's the way you see the world.'[return]'Because then art suffocates. The devil gives us nothing, only he takes, takes. Listen, in Europe, in last century, we decide we will not worship God anymore, instead we will worship nation, race, history, the working classes, what you like, and as a result of this everything is totally ruined. And so they said, I mean the artists said, let us not believe anything but art. Let us not believe, it is too painful, it betrays us, but art we trust and understand, so let us believe at least in that. But this betrays too. And also, it is ungrateful for life.'[return][return]Movies shape everyone'sreality, to the extent that it's shaped by human action -- foreign policy, business, sexual relationships, family dynamics, the whole nine yards. It used to be the Bible but now it's movies.
  Clueless | Jul 8, 2013 |
Though the story was intriguing, I couldn't make myself like any of the characters, and that is what usually makes or breaks a book for me. ( )
  Snukes | Jun 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
This book features a remarkably deft interweaving of three plots, with sympathetic, dimensional characters worthy of the plot's intricacies, and a marvelously playful narrative voice that shifts just enough when necessary to retain its ironic distance.

It begins with Jake Mishkin ("Jake" for the sake of the book's last line, but I'm not going to reveal the punch line to a 466 page joke here). Jake is a one-time Olympic weight lifter who looks it and has respectably maintained his massive strength. He is also wealthy. Very wealthy, which helps a lot with a peripatetic plot like this one. Jake is an intellectual property lawyer, a sex addict separated, but technically not divorced, from one of the world's saintliest--and wealthiest--women, with two tragically maladjusted children between them and a veritable psychomachia engaging the spirits of his ex-Nazi Mutti, ex because now a suicide, and his ex-gangland accountant Jewish Papa, now exiled to Tel Aviv but still very much the mob's boy.

We first meet Jake in the Adirondacks lakefront cabin of his best friend Micky Haas, who happens to be the world's premiere expert on Shakespeare, president of the MLA and full Prof. at Columbia U. Jake is typing the story we are reading on a laptop. He is if not the classic unreliable narrator, at least a close cousin. What he doesn't say, and later discovers he doesn't really know, reveals a great deal about him. We think we don't quite trust Jake, but we have no other choice. . . .

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Our Revels now are ended: These our actors
(As I foretold you) were all Spirits, and
Are melted into Ayre, into thin Ayre,
And like the baselesse fabricke of this vision
The Cloud-capt Towres, the gorgeous Pallaces,
The solmne Temples, the great Globe it selfe,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial Pageant faded
Leave not a racke behinde: we are such stuffe
As dreames are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleepe ,,,

The Tempest, act IV, scene i
The First Folio, 1623
For E.W.N.
First words
Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually sees this, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061456578, Paperback)

A fire destroys a New York City rare bookstore—and reveals clues to a treasure worth killing for. . . . A disgraced scholar is found tortured to death. . . . And those pursuing the most valuable literary find in history are about to cross from the harmless mundane into inescapable nightmare.

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of Tropic of Night comes a breathtaking thriller that twists, shocks, and surprises at every turn as it crisscrosses centuries, from the glaring violence of today into the dark shadows of truth and lies surrounding the greatest writer the world has ever known.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A distinguished Shakespearean scholar found tortured to death ... A lost manuscript and its secrets buried for centuries ... An encrypted map that leads to incalculable wealth ... Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually gets to read them, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare. Does it matter, when you read, if the person who wrote still lives? These are the words of Jake Mishkin, whose seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the center of a deadly conspiracy and a chase to find a priceless treasure involving William Shakespeare ...… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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