Monday, September 24, 2007

Book Review - Interred with their Bones

Jennifer Lee Carrell’s new novel Interred with their Bones is masterfully done. How’s that for an intro? Can you guess that I really enjoyed the book?

Kate Stanley is a former academic who trades in her Harvard career for a chance to direct Shakespeare at the famed Globe Theatre of London. Our story opens with the arrival of Kate’s former academic mentor, Roz, and a mysterious gift which leads our heroine down the shaky paths of history and across the world only steps ahead of a killer... or is she steps behind?

For the Shakespeare lover, this novel is amply seasoned with the bard’s greatest works. To Ms. Carrell’s credit, she’s followed the true path of Shakespeare; making the novel accessible to both the highly literate Shakespeare aficionados and those who are not so well versed in his work. You don’t need a Master’s Degree to understand her reference or enjoy the fast moving plot.

The very best compliment I may be able to offer here is that the work employs both creative play and a true reverence for history. While building a remarkably believable work of fiction, enough of the true history of Shakespeare and his literary peers are present to lead this novel to become synonymous with the very real intellectual arguments of Shakespeare’s life and works. The fiction she builds around reality fits seamlessly together, creating a thought provoking parallel to what the orthodox scholars hold true. There is enough reference to hold our attention and the work of fiction makes for a great springboard to serious research, for those who are so inclined. But even for those who are uninterested in this little side debate of literature, the suspense and lifelike characters provide ample enjoyment.

Ms. Carrell’s writing style is fluid and descriptive. In periods of intense action, her prose holds the reader back with intricate illustration, offering a sort of tease to heighten the suspense. Occasionally a reader is tempted to skim such description to get to the meat, but not so here. In skipping any of the carefully chosen words, you may miss a golden nugget of information which will aid in piecing together the puzzle of this novel.

This is a fantastic story for both the mainstream reader and the high brow literary consumer. Just like Shakespeare, the work was wrought for the enjoyment of all rather than the few.

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Mary Witzl said...

Another good review, Merry. I wanted to review this book too, but living here in the U.K., I never manage to put my bid in fast enough.

And now there is yet another book that I want to read!

Ello said...

Ooooh, I want to read this book now! Great review!

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Mary,

Oh no, it's a shame you missed this one. I've just been responding to the emails they send to get put on reviews - or are they sending in the middle of the night for you? If it's any consolation, a few of the ones I put in for were booked, too.

This one was a good one - I'd definitely spend the money on a hardcover for it, too.

Hi Ello,

You're fast becoming one of my favorite stops. I just ordered Lottery yesterday - I've heard such great things, I can't wait to read it.

Thanks for stopping in.

hifidel said...

Sounds like a great read, Merry -- just the sort I know I would love. I'll be ordering a copy.

Merry Jelinek said...

Hi Shelly,

Yes, this one screams your name. I think you'll really enjoy it.