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Confessing a Murder by N Drayson
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Confessing a Murder (original 2002; edition 2002)

by N Drayson

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1004180,655 (3.53)9
Member:Alirob
Title:Confessing a Murder
Authors:N Drayson
Info:W. W. Norton & Co. (2002), Edition: 1 Amer ed, Hardcover, 280 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:**
Tags:Darwin, evolution

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Confessing a Murder by Nicholas Drayson (2002)

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Showing 4 of 4
Confessing a Murder starts with a question, "It is sweet to name a thing, for is it not by naming that we gain possession?" (p 2).

In the style of nameless narration this is the story of a scientist, exiled from England. He has been stranded on an active volcanic island for three seasons, studying the flora and fauna of his entrapped environment. He knows time is running out and hints by stating things like, the mountain has "other plans." He tells the story of how he got there interspersed with detailed descriptions of his discoveries on the island. Just this alone would make a fascinating story, but Drayson takes it a step further by included the fictionalized character of Charles Darwin as the unknown naturalist's friend and companion, implying, and then later announcing, the theory of evolution was imposed upon Darwin by this friend. This is a story of blind love and deaf, dumb, and blind greed.

As an aside, I couldn't get over the fantastical wildlife our nameless protagonist discovers. Birds that hibernate under water, vampire plants which suck the blood of birds. and many, many more.

The one quote I loved, "I do not know why we betray the things we love" (p 32). Hang onto this sentence because it will come back tenfold. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 12, 2018 |
Actually one of the best books I've read in around a year. Being an evolutionist I was immediately caught up in the historical intrigue and description of some rather fanciful animals. Good book through and through. ( )
  DarthBrazen | Sep 28, 2014 |
historical fiction? the narrator is fictional but the main characters are not; the island setting is not a real place; some but not all the animal species exist; some of the events really happened but not most .... all results in a suprising novel ... sometimes with too much biological detail of reproductive habits of beetles or other species. Was Charles Darwin really called Bobby by his family? ( )
  siri51 | Jul 17, 2011 |
I gave up on this book. It contains some excellent writing but, unfortunately, I found it slow and boring! ( )
  Alirob | Nov 28, 2008 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393051293, Hardcover)

A murder, a vanished tropical island, a thwarted love affair...clues to the origin of Charles Darwin's famous theory. A nameless narrator, abandoned on an island soon to be obliterated by volcanic activity, tells the story of his life and exile from England. The tale is as extraordinary for its observations of a surreal natural history as for the dark twistings of human nature it reveals. His particular interest is beetles—a passion he shares, most literally, with the idolized friend of his school years, Charles Darwin—and his reckless pursuit of the golden scarab has led him to a place that mirrors the Galapagos in the utter singularity of its fauna and flora. Blood-sucking mistletoe and amphibian swallows are but two of the fantastic species he records. Is this the diary of a madman? Or is it the story of why Darwin published the book that destroyed his belief in God? Fearlessly original in conception, this novel evokes a collaboration between Jules Verne and Patrick O'Brian.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"The Theory of Evolution was the greatest scientific concept of its age. It was so revolutionary that its author, Charles Darwin, revealed to a friend in 1854 that even mentioning it felt like "confessing a murder" (the victim, presumably, being religious belief). How was it that the unremarkable son of a rich plutocrat, who idled through school, dropped out of medical studies, and seemed destined to be a clergyman of some quiet country parish, came to lay the foundation stone of modern biology? And how was it that another biologist, Alfred Russel Wallace, came up with the same theory at the same time?" "The answer lies in Nicholas Drayson's delicious new novel, in which a nameless narrator, abandoned on an island soon to be obliterated by volcanic activity, reveals the story of his life and his exile from England. The tale is as extraordinary for its observations of a surreal natural history as for the dark twistings of human nature it reveals." "Our narrator's particular interest is beetles - a passion he shares, most literally, with the idolized friend of his school years, Charles Darwin. His reckless pursuit of the golden scarab has led him to a place that mirrors the Galapagos in the utter singularity of its fauna and flora. Blood-sucking mistletoe and amphibian swallows are but two of the fantastic species he records. Is this the diary of a madman? Or is it the story behind the publication of the book that destroyed Darwin's belief in God?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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