Cyrano de Bergerac was a seventeenth century French dramatist and duellist who is reputed to have had an overly large nose who was made famous by a French poet's play that bears his name. From the opening sentence this short novel's Parisian scene is set: richly flamboyant language jostles with dramatic swashbuckling action, telling a theatrical tale. Cyrano loves the beautiful Roxane, and he woos her with wondrous words but on behalf of a handsome dull suitor, Christian de Neuvillette. Roxanne falls for the soul of the man who thinks such lyrical thoughts and puts to paper such romance, unaware that Cyrano is actually that man. Cyrano, however, is too ashamed of his face to confess his feelings and his honour prevents him confessing the true authorship of the poetic letters. Then, when he is finally discovered his time has all but run out. Shakespearian in its mix of love and honour, sword-fighting and theatre, comedy and tragedy, this is ultimately a sad story written in beautiful and memorable prose. It is written at the level of Tamburlaine's Elephants and is a much easier read than Peter Pan in Scarlet or The Kite Rider.
on 25 March 2006
McCaughrean's lyrical prose captures you from the opening words of 'Cyrano'. After two pages I had to stop and re-read it just to convince myself that something so beautiful was really there in front of me.
This is an author who writes for young people with more seriousness than most. She never, ever talks down to her readers, never compromises her language or her ideas. She simply writes the most perfect, captivating, vivid stories imaginable.
One of the best authors of any genre I have read for some time.
on 29 March 2006
A very enjoyable, quick read - it only took me about an hour and a half. Very well and colourfully written, but reads so easily that sometimes I had to make myself slow down to savour it more. It brought back vivid memories of the Gerard Depardieu film. Highly recommended.