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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 December 2011
This was recommended to me by a couple of people so i decided to give it a try, im glad i did. Just finished reading today and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It is written like the Duke's diary with various accounts from his friends and staff, which may sound different but it works very well. The Duke is a likeable character who has unusual ways of seeing and describing things, and slowly wants less and less to do with the outside world. A great book which keeps you hooked right until the end.
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on 6 August 2012
The Underground Man tells the story of the final months of an endearingly eccentric Duke. The first person narrative, extraordinary characterisation and elegant prose combine to create a fabulous study of dotage. Sad, comic and insightful we follow the Duke's musings as he tries to come to terms with the tragedy of his early life, his inability to establish relationships and the nature of his world.

A superb book, beautifully written, memorable and engaging.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2007
The Underground Man tells the tale of an endearingly dotty and delightfully eccentric old Duke. During the course of the novel the Duke asks for a series of tunnels to be built beneath the grounds of his estate so he can travel to the outskirts of his land, by coach, but completely underground. He also engages in such eccentric behaviour as travelling between the floors of his mansion in a dumb waiter; taking the study of phrenology to insane extremes and wondering at length just what exactly does happen to all the whale bones deposited on the sea bed. He's a beautifully strange and lovable creation, but beneath the wayward charm there seems to be something rather dark nagging at his consciousness. He worries about the past, fretting upon something he cannot quite recall, and he occasionally sees a young boy out of the corner of his eye that no one else ever notices.

What raises this book above being simply the character study of a delightfully strange old gentleman is the quality of the prose. Mick Jackson has a gift for the beautiful metaphor and the dazzling simile. At one point the Duke recalls a young lady he loved and lost asleep on a divan in all her finery, describing her defenceless state as being "beautifully capsized". At another he meditates on the weather-worn gravestones in the churchyard, wearing their tattered garments of green and brown. There's a definte melancholy edge to much of the writing, but all the same the key-note of the book is one of gentle humour. The Duke's observations, and the way his long-suffering staff relate to them, are exquisitely funny: the maid discovering the old gentleman suspended upside down from a tree by his trousers is a beautifully comic moment.

There is, in truth, little in the way of plot but the superb writing and the delightful company of the Duke make this an engaging and memorable book. Lyrical, lovable and melancholy, and with a dark twist in the tale that I personally didn't see coming. Recommended reading for a winter's night by the fire.
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on 25 July 2015
Fact or Fiction? When it's this well written you really stop caring.

I never expected to be overcome with so many different emotions ranging from deep sadness to laugh out loud giggles.

What an extraordinary man His Grace was. More child than man. Seeing the world through his eyes was a Joy. Reading how others saw His Grace was sometimes sad, often funny and also very revealing about how people treat others who are just a little bit "different".

The care and obvious devotion of Clement was very touching

I look forward to the Audio Book with Simon Vance. Pretty Please!!!

Goodbye Mr Berry Man. Sweet dreams.
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on 20 September 2010
What can I say about this phenomenal book...? I am reading it for the third time and it just gets better and better!! Mick Jackson's prose is exquisite - each sentence is so beautifully crafted, his vocabulary so rich and the anti hero so poignantly described.Dare I say a Dickens of our time? Whilst there are little moments of humour,to me this is essentially the most moving and powerful study of the loneliness of an individual, and his mental decline. Absolute genius!!
The ending haunted me for days... I
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on 2 January 2014
Thought that I'd try this book as it's about the Duke of Portland of Welbeck Abbey, and I have a keen interest in the place and its history. Written in a somewhat unusual format that seems to be taken from the Dukes diaries. I really enjoyed it, and have now read it again. I kind of felt sorry for him in a way,for the torment he suffered. However if you enjoy history and an unusual slant this is well worth a read, very enjoyable.
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on 22 August 2011
This is an odd little story that meanders along in a strange but compelling way.It's also laugh out loud funny in parts,as the Duke sets off on his various adventures for reasons known only to himself.I really enjoyed this quirky tale and was touched by the musings of the Duke in his quest for the 'answer.'
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on 22 July 2013
Like the Widow's Tale by the same author, this is a first person narrative that beautifully captures inner turmoil and uncertainty. I read to the end but wasn't really gripped. The central character is a singular type and I suppose plausible as a wealthy late nineteenth century eccentric with the means to indulge even his wildest fancies. I didn' t really engage with him though. For me, nowhere near as enjoyable as the Widow's Tale.
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Jackson makes the figure of the Duke come alive in a wonderfully endearing way. I loved the way that the Duke's view of the world was given almost free rein so it seemed like he was making perfect sense and it was everyone else that was mad. It was a very sympathetic view of what madness is perceived to be. The spiritual side of the writing was very uplifting and thought provoking and nicely leavened by some beautifully dry touches of humour. Similarly the Duke's narrative was broken up with the accounts of those who had come into contact with him to give a more rounded yet no less eccentric picture. Wonderful.
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on 12 February 2012
We read this for our book group. I started it,didn't get on with it, put it down but then determined not to be beaten had another go. And I'm glad I did. I had mixed feelings when I finished; unusually couldn't decide whether I liked it or not. But the more I think about it the more it has grown on me. I do think it is extraordinarily original in concept and writing and I think it is definitely one of those books that rewards rereading. I would recommend anyone to try it. And if at first you don't like it, don't abandon it go back and try again. It has much to be teased out. An underrated slow burn of a book.
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