Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land



Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening LandOne Of Our Most Accomplished Literary Artists, John Crowley Imagines The Novel The Haunted Romantic Poet Lord Byron Never Penned But Very Well Might Have Saved From Destruction, Read, And Annotated By Byron S Own Abandoned Daughter, Ada, The Manuscript Is Rediscovered In Our Time And Almost Not Recognized Lord Byron S Novel Is The Story Of A Dying Daughter S Attempt To Understand The Famous Father She Longed For And The Young Woman Who, By Learning The Secret Of Byron S Manuscript And Ada S Devotion, Reconnects With Her Own Father, Driven From Her Life By A Crime As Terrible As Any Of Which Byron Himself Was Accused

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the Goodreads database with this name See this thread forinformation.John Crowley was born in Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942 his father was then an officer in the US Army Air Corps He grew up in Vermont, northeastern Kentucky and for the longest stretch Indiana, where he went to high school and college He moved to New York City after college to make movies, and did find work in documentary films, an occupation he still pursues He published his first novel The Deep in 1975, and his 15th volume of fiction Endless Things in 2007 Since 1993 he has taught creative writing at Yale University In 1992 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.His first published novels were science fiction The Deep 1975 and Beasts 1976 Engine Summer 1979 was nominated for the 1980 American Book Award it appears in David Pringle s 100 Best Science Fiction Novels.In 1981 came Little, Big, which Ursula Le Guin described as a book that all by itself calls for a redefinition of fantasy In 1980 Crowley embarked on an ambitious four volume novel, gypt, comprising The Solitudes originally published as gypt , Love Sleep, D monomania, and Endless Things, published in May 2007 This series and Little, Big were cited when Crowley received the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature.He is also the recipient of an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant His recent novels are The Translator, recipient of the Premio Flaianno Italy , and Lord Byron s Novel The Evening Land, which contains an entire imaginary novel by the poet A novella, The Girlhood of Shakespeare s Heroines, appeared in 2002 A museum quality 25th anniversary edition of Little, Big, featuring the art of Peter Milton and a critical introduction by Harold Bloom, is in preparation NoteThe John Crowley who wrote Sans pines, la rose Tony Blair, un mod le pour l Europe is a different author with the same name website

[Reading] ➼ Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land Author John Crowley – Heartforum.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 465 pages
  • Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land
  • John Crowley
  • English
  • 09 September 2017
  • 0060556595

10 thoughts on “Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land

  1. Eddie Watkins says:

    A fine and thoroughly disappointing novel.It is virtually devoid of the mystery and depth of meaning of Crowley s best novels, which I consider to be Little, Big and the Aegypt series Technically, it is a marvel, and the mock Byron novel is a rip roaring read, and even the email exchanges among the principal contemporary characters are interesting but the book as a whole is terribly predictable the Byron novel itself being predictably unpredictable Considering that the novel includes an acc A fine and thoroughly disappointing novel.It is virtually devoid of the mystery and depth of meaning of Crowley s best novels, which I consider to be Little, Big and the Aegypt series Technically, it is a marvel, and the mock Byron novel is a rip roaring read, and even the email exchanges among the principal contemporary characters are interesting but the book as a whole is terribly predictable the Byron novel itself being predictably unpredictable Considering that the novel includes an account of intense literary sleuthing, there is no suspense or sense of discovery From the beginning you know that the Byron novel has been found, so the sense of excitement the characters feel and express in their email exchanges is totally defused en route to the reader The book does explore the nature of self, but for Crowley in a very simplistic dualistic fashion Byron or rather his alter ego in the novel within a novel is in the end revealed as a split personality but essentially the book is about daughters coming to terms with absent, troubled fathers, which is admittedly a moving subject, and I suppose Crowley handles that aspect with subtlety and depth, so certain people will certainly find at least parts of the novel moving, but it s just too specific a subject to carry the weight of the entire novel, which in the end I considered littlethan an academic display of technical virtuosity, an excercise in various voices

  2. Margaret says:

    What if George Gordon, Lord Byron, had written a novel He started one, of course, on that famous night in Italy with Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley, but quickly abandoned it Instead, John Crowley asks what if he d finished it, and it had come into the hands of his daughter, Ada, Countess of Lovelace Lord Byron s Novel is an intricately intertwined three part story Byron s novel, which we get in its entirety his daughter s annotations and notes and the researchers who discover the novel.For What if George Gordon, Lord Byron, had written a novel He started one, of course, on that famous night in Italy with Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley, but quickly abandoned it Instead, John Crowley asks what if he d finished it, and it had come into the hands of his daughter, Ada, Countess of Lovelace Lord Byron s Novel is an intricately intertwined three part story Byron s novel, which we get in its entirety his daughter s annotations and notes and the researchers who discover the novel.For me, the earlier parts worked better than the modern day ones The novel felt convincingly Byronic I ve read little of his poetry and can t speak to his use of language, but the themes were certainly there the Albanian setting of much of the novel, the brother sister incest, and the thinly disguised version of his own wife Evenconvincing, and heartrending, were Ada s annotations she barely knew her father, who separated from her mother when Ada was very young, and Crowley beautifully portrays her attempts to establish a connection with Byron through the pages of his novel.The modern day sections didn t work as well, at least not for me Smith, the researcher who discovers the novel, just happens to have an estranged father, who just happens to be a Byron scholar in the course of their email correspondence about the novel, we find outabout Smith and Lee s history I just felt that it was too pat and predictable in its parallelism with Byron and Ada s relationship, which I wasinterested in anyway I d have been much happier withAda and less Smith and Lee and Smith s annoying lover, Thea Overall, though, I did enjoy the book, and I might well read it again for the Byron and Ada parts, which were marvelous

  3. James says:

    Took about 7 attempts to get in to this, glad I did The book is on three tracks Byron s novel, Ada s notes on Byron s novel, and modern readers working their way through both Once all three start gelling the pace picks up nicely, but the Byron novel is slow going even for folks like me who like the occasional Romantic novel and Crowley does Romantic Novel very well Extra points for having the modern protagonist being a lesbian and having that be only mildly relevant to the plot, and in no Took about 7 attempts to get in to this, glad I did The book is on three tracks Byron s novel, Ada s notes on Byron s novel, and modern readers working their way through both Once all three start gelling the pace picks up nicely, but the Byron novel is slow going even for folks like me who like the occasional Romantic novel and Crowley does Romantic Novel very well Extra points for having the modern protagonist being a lesbian and having that be only mildly relevant to the plot, and in no way Scary or Tragic Extra extra points for thinking about Ada s son, a mostly forgotten figure Plus, bears and zombies

  4. Tim and Popie Stafford says:

    Crowley is a very inventive and interesting writer, and this novel is complicated in a way that demonstrates his strengths and weaknesses The plot revolves around a novel Byron wrote, thought to be destroyed, but actually encoded by his daughter in the hopes that it would survive It is found and decoded by some 21st century women So the book is part detective novel told through emails, mostly and part 19th century adventure novel the text of the discovered novel Very clever, and it kept Crowley is a very inventive and interesting writer, and this novel is complicated in a way that demonstrates his strengths and weaknesses The plot revolves around a novel Byron wrote, thought to be destroyed, but actually encoded by his daughter in the hopes that it would survive It is found and decoded by some 21st century women So the book is part detective novel told through emails, mostly and part 19th century adventure novel the text of the discovered novel Very clever, and it kept me turning pages Problem is that the characters, in either century, don t have much weight, and seem to exist to serve the plot In the end I didn t much care

  5. Michael Battaglia says:

    I ve said variations of this before but its quite possible that if someone John Crowley conspired to have me kidnapped by Martians to work in their red dust mines, I d still be praising his writing to my fellow red dust miners While some books hit harder than others, there s a level of lyricism and thoughtfulness in each one that feels carefully considered He doesn t do anything for the heck of it, even if it involves extraterrestrial bodysnatching.This time out, and much like the last one I r I ve said variations of this before but its quite possible that if someone John Crowley conspired to have me kidnapped by Martians to work in their red dust mines, I d still be praising his writing to my fellow red dust miners While some books hit harder than others, there s a level of lyricism and thoughtfulness in each one that feels carefully considered He doesn t do anything for the heck of it, even if it involves extraterrestrial bodysnatching.This time out, and much like the last one I read of his, The Translator , he shies away from fantastic elements and focuses onmundane elements, specifically regarding the text of a novel allegedly written by famed Romantic poet and all around good time Lord Byron, one that was supposed to have been burned by his wife after his death and was somehow hidden by a daughter that he never had the chance to meet.That all sounds like a good excuse for a genre pastiche but Crowley has to go and complicate the heck out of things by not only giving us the full Byron novel but also the footnotes to each chapter written by said daughter and in between e mail exchanges between people who are trying to decipher the importance and authenticity of the novel Each section has its own wrinkles and mini plots to move things forward, just to keep things interesting, with the theme of fathers and daughters rediscovering each other little by little.If this sounds like Crowley wanted to write a Lord Byron tribute and was forced to stick other elements into the book in order to get it to sell tothan Romantic poet cosplay conventions, you may not be that far from the truth The novel itself called The Evening Land gets the bulk of the pages but the actual plot seems to lie in the other sections, as his daughter Ada s notes seem to indicate that she s trying to understand him through the story, while the e mails are a series of exchanges between Alexandra or Smith as she sometimes goes , her lover Thea and eventually her father Roman Polanski er, Lee, who is a Byron expert but someone she s been estranged from for years due to a crime in his past Will they bond while seeking to uncover Ada s secrets or will she eventually lose her patience and sign him up for every spam list she can It makes for a very strange beast, not the least because we re never quite sure what we re supposed to be focusing on The Byron novel is literally the entire novel and not being one for poetry I don t know much about Lord Byron so I can t even say what parts of the novel are supposed to be autobiographical Knowing Crowley the style is probably as accurate as he could swing it which means if you aren t already a fan of novels from that period you might find it rough goingit took me about three chapters of the novel to finally settle in to the rhythms of it, much like when I go see a Shakespeare production To modern eyes it comes off as drastically overwritten and even if that is how they wrote back then, the parts of the novel that seem to work the best are where Crowley dials back the Romantic tendencies slightly and focuses on just telling the story It doesn t help that the story itself isn t amazingly great shakes and probablyinteresting to Byron fanstelling the story of a young man with a beastly father making his way through the world Its got twists and turns in the best melodramatic fashion, with sudden deaths, unexpected children, unexpected other relatives but being that you re already reading a novel about a fake novel there too many layers of artifice involved for me to really get into it.The footnotes are another curious beaston the one hand they re trying to flesh out Ada as a person, highlighting her loneliness and slight despair she died in her mid thirties of cervical cancer and not pleasantly either , her cloudy moments and the times when she s desperately trying to understand the father she never met, looking for parallels to his life in the novel and even in herself at times But the footnotes are too infrequent for any real momentum to develop and beyond having her text break off into almost literal cries of pain, there s not much he can do to make them feel immediate And again, even though he does his best to incorporate actual historical facts into this layer of the narrative she was buried near her father and may have been the first computer programmer, which is an aspect the novel continually flirts with but never seems to fully relay the impact it wants to its hard to forget you re reading a made up novel to begin with.The e mail exchanges have the most promise and show that if Crowley wanted to go and write a full modern day epistolary novel he d probably do a fairly decent job of it He captures the rhythms of all the participants and how people s styles tend to change depending on how they re talking tofor some reason he has Thea write in a teenage no punctuation style that even Alexandra comments on is annoying as heck but the meat of the conversations are between Alexandra and her father as they gently push and probe at each other, not wanting to go too far but aching to fully reconnect, or at least see if its worth the attempt Their shared exuberance and moments of tension are conveyed well and what was interesting was how Crowley was often able to convey the emotion behind the text, giving you an idea of what isn t said in the e mail itself, which can be just as important as what someone writes The emotional heart of the story seems to lie in these sections and while I think he lets Lee get off a bit too easy while he admits to his crime, he s allowed to cloud the issue by noting he was the only one caught the story isn t really about his redemption as much as a father and daughter understanding each other for the first time as adults, far away from the parent child dynamic that they have no choice but to approach it fresh That he almost makes it work as a separate novella isremarkable yet.And that s the crux of itthe e mail material is so well written and the relationships thought out that the Byron stuff is kind of weird bonus material making it odd to understand who this book is even forByron fans may see this as an okay imitation of the master and would probably rather have the full Byron rather than the footnotes mystery and the Alexandra Lee stuff but people who areinto the latter are going to be turned off by having to wade through a novel that is two thirds written in a style that went out of fashion when gaslamps did Crowley s talent makes it manageable but you keep waiting for the sections to blend together symphonically, building to some grand revelation or emotional payoff when each kind of ends on its own simply, without paying much attention to what the other is doing I expectedinterlacing of the different parts and instead we got not quite three novels in one, but a novel, a novella and an experimental short story Its all done tastefully and with reverence but considering the subject, its not impossible what would have happened if Crowley had injectedof Byron s spirit instead of his style

  6. Kiri says:

    I read this book ages ago and, coming across it again recently, decided to renew my acquaintance with it But 100 pages in, I m giving up The thesis is interesting a novel purportedly written by Lord Byron surfaces in modern times, along with notes for the manuscript written by his daughter Ada That s very cool, not only because the novel contents are entertainingly romantic, but Ada s annotations are informative, based on Byron s actual life, and a neat nod to Ada s efforts in writing I read this book ages ago and, coming across it again recently, decided to renew my acquaintance with it But 100 pages in, I m giving up The thesis is interesting a novel purportedly written by Lord Byron surfaces in modern times, along with notes for the manuscript written by his daughter Ada That s very cool, not only because the novel contents are entertainingly romantic, but Ada s annotations are informative, based on Byron s actual life, and a neat nod to Ada s efforts in writing Notes for Charles Babbage s writings Ada is a wonderful historical figure, and I enjoyed seeing fictional echoes of her here.What doesn t work, and is EXCEEDINGLY tedious, is the frame story about the modern characters who find the manuscript notes and are trying to determine whether it s real This should work fine, but this part of the story is all told through emails no narration and it s clunky and boring to read It s also oddly out of sync now e.g., the main character s father asks What is strongwomanstory.org I suppose I should know how to look for it on the Web, but She then proceeds to tell him how to click in the address bar and type in a URL Really These people are communicating by email and he doesn t know how to enter a URL to go somewhere on the web The book was written in 2005 it s not ancient or anything.So, eventually, I gave up because these modern characters got so annoying Left alone, I d totally read the rest of Lord Byron s Novel and Ada s annotations but other things are calling for my attention

  7. Robin says:

    I started reading this book with great interest and then it just got confusing and boring and you know how I am with authors interjecting comments to the reader Mark Twain We have a story supposedly written by Lord Byron Manuscripts happened upon daughter Ada Lovelace who was to burn them but coded the whole novel into numbers so all was not to be lost then years into the future found again ofcourse , decoded and published This could almost be four stories The story. the novel is abou I started reading this book with great interest and then it just got confusing and boring and you know how I am with authors interjecting comments to the reader Mark Twain We have a story supposedly written by Lord Byron Manuscripts happened upon daughter Ada Lovelace who was to burn them but coded the whole novel into numbers so all was not to be lost then years into the future found again ofcourse , decoded and published This could almost be four stories The story. the novel is about, a history of Lord Byron, story of daughter Ada who is telling us the story, all this done by the one who discovers the manuscripts and all the while this whole revelations of things is comunicating by email to her lesbian lover and estranged father Sometimes I wasn t with who the emails were to or from A lot of nonsense talk going on about unimportant stuff i just thought an interesting story or what could have been was ruined and became almost bothersome to stick it our and read to the end I didbut oi

  8. Caitlin says:

    58 pages in and I just couldn t do it any I will commend the author on making the Byron segments as pretentious and ponderous as the real thing.

  9. Bill says:

    way too boringI actually gave up half way through.

  10. Jack Deighton says:

    Lord Byron, of course, never wrote a novel except perhaps the beginnings of one Or, if he did, it is lost to the mists of time Crowley s conceit here is that Byron completed it, and that his daughter, Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, burned it due to her batty mother s insistence, but, before she did so, encrypted it in a series of numbers Those numbers have turned up in papers belonging to Viscount Ockham, Ada s son A website called strongwomanstory has gained access to thes Lord Byron, of course, never wrote a novel except perhaps the beginnings of one Or, if he did, it is lost to the mists of time Crowley s conceit here is that Byron completed it, and that his daughter, Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, burned it due to her batty mother s insistence, but, before she did so, encrypted it in a series of numbers Those numbers have turned up in papers belonging to Viscount Ockham, Ada s son A website called strongwomanstory has gained access to these and sent a reporter to look them over This aspect of Crowley s novel is related in a series of emails and letters between the reporter Smith and her mother Thea but expands to include her father Smith s relationship with her father is much the same as Ada Lovelace s with hers sexual indiscretions resulting in estrangement except the modern story holds the promise of reconciliation Included in these exchanges is the observation that Ada s story contains a monster parent, but it s not her father it s her mother and the observation about Byron s notorious lack of punctuation Printers in those days could punctuate Imagine Now hardly anybody can It would of course be impossible to proceed with this scenario were the novel by Lord Byron not to appear in these pages and it does take up by far the largest part of the book Crowley has done an impressive job in ventriloquising the poet s voice even if at one point he does have Byron pre echo Tolstoy with the thought, Happy endings are all alike disasters may be unique Its protagonist, Ali, born in Albania as the result of a liaison with a wandering British aristocrat, Lord Sane, is in young adulthood sought out by his father to become heir to the Sane estate, somewhere in Scotland This tale, The Evening Land, is as Gothic as you could wish, involving a gruesome death, misplaced accusations, possible amnesia, an impersonator, a clandestine seduction everything you would expect from a book with such supposed origins and complete with the verisimilitudinal inclusion of archaic spellings such as dropt for dropped, segar for cigar and soar d for saored We are also given Ada s commentary on the text of The Evening Land, in the form of her notes on each chapter, wherein she wonders if her father could ever have imagined a family not riven by disputes There is, too, a respect in which, notwithstanding the fact that The Evening Land s contents bear resemblances to incidents in Byron s life, this overall endeavor might be said to beabout Ada than Byron Then we have the wonderful cover illustration featuring Caspar David Friedrich s painting Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog , and the rough cut page edges making the book resemble one from the early 19th century show a pleasing attention to detail.Crowley came to my attention back in the 1970s with books such as Little, BigEngine Summer and Aegypt I note here the appearance in the text of The Evening Land of the spelling schylus but dropped off my reading register till I noticed this book I ll be looking forof him now though

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