What a fantastic idea! What a great structure! Before I use too many exclamation marks, I'll calm down.
Have you ever tried a book that wasn't written in prose? It's a nervy prospect - will there by rhymes? Do you need to sing it? Will it make sense?
Just a page or two into The Marlowe Papers and you end up feeling that the style is quite natural while still being a little different. It suits the subject.
And the subject is Christopher Marlowe. Not being a historian I knew only a little about Marlowe - that he was a contemporary of Shakespeare, was quite well-travelled as a spy (allegedly), and died in a tavern brawl. (And none of this from Shakespeare in Love, but A-Level English and Edward II). This book fills in the story, and embellishes it by asking - what if his death was faked, and it was MARLOWE who wrote Shakespeare's plays?...
It is as compelling a read as any thriller. The period detail is brilliant, I could picture the scenes, the man, Tudor London.
And I must confess, it does make you wonder - what if it were true?!
It's very well done, a lovely blank verse style that is by no means hard to read. Made me research Marlowe's history a little more after I'd finished.
Really quite beautiful at times, and a superb book for a group, plenty of material to get your teeth into. I hope being on the Women's Prize longlist brings it a larger readership.
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