Top critical review
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on 6 December 2013
I recently read The Sleep Room by this author, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so looked out another book of his to read. This book begins with a young doctor in 1872 who escapes from dreary life in Paris to an exotic life in Saint-Sebastien, an island in the French Antilles. While there, he experiences some of the local superstitions and magics which touch the border between life and death. When he returns to Paris in 1873 he finds work with medical specialists who are investigating that same border, and what may be on the other side. How does science coexist with religion in these times?
This is a good spooky book, with devilry and religion, horrific visions and superstitions all intertwined. I did not think it was as good a book as The Sleep Room - it did not have the same suspense and breathless haste in the narrative, and seemed at times to drift a bit from purpose. Perhaps a good edit would have helped tighten the narrative overall. But it was a fairly good read.