November 26, 2011

Review - AfterWord (Dale Salwak)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet a long dead author of your choice? This is exactly what happens in AfterWord by Dale Salwak. Bringing together several biographers and novelists who contribute to this collection of stories in which they conjure the Literary Dead, the reader will meet Thomas Hardy and Samuel Beckett, as well as Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, to name but a few.
I admit, I was very much intrigued by the idea and the different approaches - visitation, evocation, and consolidation - that were taken to bring those long gone back for a little chat. While the introduction as well as the essay "Descent: Negotiating with the Dead" by Margaret Atwood were both promising and fascinating, the conversations and encounters often felt more like a synopsis of a certain writer's live, quite obviously composed by someone who knows their biography inside and out. What I missed in most cases was the, if not perfect, at least harmonious combination of fact and fiction.
There were only few essays that stood out for me, and sadly, I felt disappointed with most parts of the book. For those who are still curious about it, I can at least recommend my personal favorites, which are certainly worth the read. Those were the essays on George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, and Robert Frost.
In short: What a fabulous idea, yet some writers should have stayed in their graves!

2/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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