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The Unburied Paperback – 19 Mar 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster (19 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743410513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743410519
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 717,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The New Yorker"

All the murders are puzzles, and Palliser constructs his plot like a maze and lures readers into it. The books ruthless consistency of style and the somewhat bleak view of humankind set it apart from the usual thriller.



"The New York Observer"

Enormously enjoyable.



"The Wall Street Journal"

No one is exactly as he seems to be.



"The Washington Post Book World"

Probably generates as much plot per page as is humanly possible to.



"Palo Alto Daily News"

There is little doubt that "The Unburied" confirms to all, British or American, that Palliser is one of the world's most imaginative historical novelists.



"The Wall Street Journal"

The Christmas ghost was a staple of Victorian holiday fiction, and "The Unburied" is an elegant update of the tradition that is both modern in its concerns and wholly convincing as an artifact of another age.



"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)

A complex chronicle of evil, immorality, and greed....Both a gifted raconteur and a shrewd observer of human nature, Palliser should win new readers on this side of the Atlantic with this compulsively readable tale.



"The Washington Post Book World"

A fine literary diversion for a winter's night or two....The novel's prose moves swiftly but pauses from time to time for lengthy -- and interesting -- conversations about the nature of religious belief, historical investigation, and marital passion. Palliser even inserts sentences that call to mind tags from nineteenth-century authors like Nietzsche and Thoreau ('When you come to die you'll realize that you have not lived').



"The Guardian" (London)

Charles Palliser now bids to be our leading contemporary Victorian novelist.



"Entertainment Weekly"

As the layers of dirty deeds are unearthed, [the novel] feels like an archaeological dig -- mesmerizing, meticulous.



"The New York Observer"Enormously enjoyable.

"The Wall Street Journal"No one is exactly as he seems to be.

"The Guardian" (London)Charles Palliser now bids to be our leading contemporary Victorian novelist.

"Entertainment Weekly"As the layers of dirty deeds are unearthed, [the novel] feels like an archaeological dig -- mesmerizing, meticulous.

"Palo Alto Daily News"There is little doubt that "The Unburied" confirms to all, British or American, that Palliser is one of the world's most imaginative historical novelists.

"The Wall Street Journal"The Christmas ghost was a staple of Victorian holiday fiction, and "The Unburied" is an elegant update of the tradition that is both modern in its concerns and wholly convincing as an artifact of another age.

"The New Yorker"All the murders are puzzles, and Palliser constructs his plot like a maze and lures readers into it. The books ruthless consistency of style and the somewhat bleak view of humankind set it apart from the usual thriller.

"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)A complex chronicle of evil, immorality, and greed....Both a gifted raconteur and a shrewd observer of human nature, Palliser should win new readers on this side of the Atlantic with this compulsively readable tale.

"The Washington Post Book World"A fine literary diversion for a winter's night or two....The novel's prose moves swiftly but pauses from time to time for lengthy -- and interesting -- conversations about the nature of religious belief, historical investigation, and marital passion. Palliser even inserts sentences that call to mind tags from nineteenth-century authors like Nietzsche and Thoreau ('When you come to die you'll realize that you have not lived').

"The New York Observer" Enormously enjoyable.

"The Washington Post Book World" Probably generates as much plot per page as is humanly possible to.

"Entertainment Weekly" As the layers of dirty deeds are unearthed, [the novel] feels like an archaeological dig -- mesmerizing, meticulous.

"The Wall Street Journal" The Christmas ghost was a staple of Victorian holiday fiction, and "The Unburied" is an elegant update of the tradition that is both modern in its concerns and wholly convincing as an artifact of another age.

"The New Yorker" All the murders are puzzles, and Palliser constructs his plot like a maze and lures readers into it. The books ruthless consistency of style and the somewhat bleak view of humankind set it apart from the usual thriller.

"The Wall Street Journal" No one is exactly as he seems to be.

"The Washington Post Book World" A fine literary diversion for a winter's night or two....The novel's prose moves swiftly but pauses from time to time for lengthy -- and interesting -- conversations about the nature of religious belief, historical investigation, and marital passion. Palliser even inserts sentences that call to mind tags from nineteenth-century authors like Nietzsche and Thoreau ('When you come to die you'll realize that you have not lived').

"Palo Alto Daily News" There is little doubt that "The Unburied" confirms to all, British or American, that Palliser is one of the world's most imaginative historical novelists.

"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) A complex chronicle of evil, immorality, and greed....Both a gifted raconteur and a shrewd observer of human nature, Palliser should win new readers on this side of the Atlantic with this compulsively readable tale.

"The Guardian" (London) Charles Palliser now bids to be our leading contemporary Victorian novelist.

Book Description

A gothic tale of deception, murder and mystery set in Victorian England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A terrific, thoughtful and deeply engaging mystery, this book completely tangles you into the gothic, foggy, deceptive world it describes. I've rarely read something so exceptionally well-crafted and intelligent. Moreover, it's not the pretentious, associative rambling that often passes for 'literary' writing, but tightly focussed story and characterisation. The narrator is sometimes half-informed, or untrustworthy, or disoriented - that's the point, the reader has to do some work to discover what's going on! So refreshing to have to engage with a work and really think about what's happening on a myriad of levels. This book makes you puzzle over themes of history, story-telling, reliable narration, constructing truth from what we see and read and hear, but all in a completely involving way. And that's one lesson you come away with, and made me go straight back to the beginning of the book: narrative curiosity and that itching hunger to find out the truth are what makes us read and learn and basically get out and live. This book is wonderful precisely because it plays games and infuriates and makes you go backward and forward - and anyone who considers themselves a reader of crime, historical fiction or 'literature' should give this a go and see what the novel form can still do.
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Format: Paperback
Charles Palliser is the author who brought the Victorian novel out of the drawing room with The Quincunx, a fast-paced novel of adventure and intrigue.
With The Unburied, however, he takes us back into the drawing room...literally. Much of this book involves fireside conversation over sherry or port, and much of it moves at a pace that would make writers such as Dickens and George Eliot proud.
At first glance, The Unburied seems to be no more than a ghost story, and it is certainly atmospheric, filled as it is with all the spookiness and gloom one usually finds only in the Gothic form of the genre. Palliser, however, deviates somewhat from a standard thriller as he leads us down first one unexpected path, then another.
The book centers on the character of Dr. Edward Courtine, an academic who has come to the English town of Thurchester to visit an old acquaintance. Courtine gradually learns the details of a murder at the local cathedral more than two centuries earlier and of a ghost that some still believe to haunt the area. Courtine, however, hasn't come to Thurchester to hunt ghosts; he has come to look for a lost book about Alfred the Great. So great is his preoccupation with his search, in fact, that he overlooks what the reader can see quite clearly: all of the townsfolk are acting as if they had something to hide.
It is at this point that the unexpected paths make their first appearance. Unexpected paths, red herrings, false clues, the reader really doesn't know what to make of this story. Is the centuries old murder the book's focal point or is it, instead, the murder that has just been committed? Perhaps it both.
Palliser cleverly uses a recently revealed manuscript as a framing device and proceeds to tell his tale in the first-person, with Courtine as the narrator.
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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this work. thw writer is extremely intelligent and his half Gothic half murder mystery novel touched on a lot of themes. Whereas for me with most murder mysteries I cannot be interested enough to work out who might be the murderer, this novel like Dostoyevsky's uses a whodunnit theme to investigate a number of subjects-faith, the nature of evil and the nature of history or historical truth and keeps interest in the entire mystery alive. What I found frustrating was that I was not so far able to concentrate as to be able to unravel all they mystery of the book even after a second read. The writer cleverely evokes the atmosphere of the time, although I think he occasionally slips in the dioalogue, which once or twice ocmes across as not quite period.
I felt that I must be a bit stupid (I am slow on the uptake about people and their motivations in real life) and the book can have a depressing effect in the sense that the normal reader may feel he/she is rather dim witted compared to the author. But how refreshing to find an intelligent novel, a novel from which one can learn something, a novel which is both an excape and not an escape, that is to say an escape into a foggy Gothic world which enthralls and at the same time a discussion of subjects which are contemporary (what is historical truth is a very very hot subject-consider the Shakespeare authorship debate and the reassessment of historical figures such as Richard 111 for example) a novel which is worth reading twice or even three times and for that reason is worth its price more than most novels.
If you you like at least two of these writers I think you will like this book: Umberto Eco/Mervyn Peake/ Agatha Christi/Brontes
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Format: Paperback
The title of this review was borrowed from Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. I use the quotation here, as I believe it describes this book beautifully. This book is my first introduction to the work of Mr. Palliser who, as an author, was unknown to me prior to this volume. I actually bought the novel based upon a quote on the jacket that referred to Mr. Palliser unburying the memory of author Wilkie Collins as well as others not named.
Mr. Collins is credited by some for creating the mystery novel, and is known for such works as "The Moonstone" and "The Woman In White". He was a friend of Charles Dickens and they published a literary paper together for a time. Some scholars suggest that the book Mr. Dickens was writing, but died before finishing; "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" was influenced by Mr. Collins.
This is one of the top 10 books of this genre I have ever read. I actually bought the Author's previous book "The Quincunx" before I had reached the mid-point of "The Unburied". If, as some have written, the book prior to this was even better, I look forward to it being astonishing. If it proves only as good as this book, I would be thrilled.
The book has an interesting structure with an unusual note at the beginning and end. I will say no more than that. Between those notes is a mystery of the highest caliber. Characters whose names are reminiscent and are a tribute to Dickens are employed by Palliser, not simply badly copied. A plot that while complex, can also be followed, but the reader must pay careful attention. Paper and pen to diagram relationships amongst the players does not hurt, it also allows you to continue hypothesizing when reading is impractical.
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