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The Gap in the Curtain by John Buchan
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The Gap in the Curtain (original 1932; edition 1932)

by John Buchan

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1063113,849 (3.45)7
Member:Eyejaybee
Title:The Gap in the Curtain
Authors:John Buchan
Info:Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (2012), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fiction, Edward Leithen, History, Adventure, Science Fiction, Suspense

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The Gap In The Curtain by John Buchan (1932)

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Not one of Buchan's better offerings. The basic scenario was very interesting: Sir Edward Leithen is feeling jaded as a consequence of a long and frantic Parliamentary term running alongside a particularly onerous pell at the Bar. To relax he joins a houseparty in the country where he meets some intriguing fellow guests and the leading Scandinavian scientist (and recent Nobel Laureate) Professor Moe. Intrigued by Moe's sheer presenceand charisma Leithen reluctantly agrees to aprticipate in an experiment in which Moe hopes to demonstrate how, under certain circumstances, some people might be able accurately to foresee parts of the future. The experiment requires Leithen and various other house guests to study each day's copy of The Times in great detail and to focus particularly on one aspect of it (in Leithen's case the Law Reports). Professor Moe is convinced that if the participants focus sufficiently strongly then, with the aid of a special drug that he has devised, they will be able to catch a glimpse of the corresponding entry in the newspaper a year in the future.

Alarmingly, two of Leithen's fellow guinea pigs imagine reading their own obituaries in that future edition of the paper. They and Leithen are then left to wonder whether they might be able to change that apparent destiny.

Buchan's prose is as clear and stylish as ever but I felt that this novel never quite took off. The nod towards science fiction takes Buchan into an area with which he is not comfortable, and the story fails to develop his customary level of cohesion. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Feb 21, 2013 |
Seven guests at a country house party are selected for a scientific experiment. Five succeed and are granted a brief glimpse of their future. A sixth tells of what they did with that foreknowledge. Buchan at his most metaphysical. ( )
  Figgles | Feb 17, 2010 |
Now I have to come clean and declare a prejudice here. For me John Buchan can do no wrong ! Whether it is writing his adventure,gung-ho type fiction,his historical novels or indeed his more serious non-fiction of various types,he is so good.
Likewise with his under-rated supernatural stories of which this is the best I think. Very understated,it tells of a group of guests at a rather select party who are invited to 'look into the future' in an experiment which involves each person studying a different section of 'The Times' newspaper and attempting to see that section in the future--the leader page,the city page,the court page and the deaths.In this latter their own death is seen printed out in front of them.
Highly recommended. ( )
  devenish | Aug 13, 2007 |
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"Si la conscience qui sommeille dans P'instinct se reveillait, s'il s'interiorisait en connaissance au lieu de s'exterioriser en action. si nous savions l'interroger et s'il pouvait repondre, il nous livrerait les secrets de la vie." - Bergson, L'Evolution Creatrice.
"But no!" cried Mr Mantalini. "It is a demn'd horrid dream. It is not reality. No!" - Nicholas Nickleby.
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To Sybil and Lambert Middleton
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As I took my place at the dinner-table I realised that I was not the only tired mortal in Lady Flambard's Whitsuntide party.
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A supernatural story full of suspense. Guests at a country house party are enabled by an eccentric scientist to see a glimpse of an issue of The Times dated a year ahead of time.

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