bookspacePhoto of readermy comments
 home > bookspace > my comments > comment: the great stink /
Subscribe via RSS 
The great stink
Clare Clark
Adult Fiction CLARK

Comments  Summary  Excerpt  Reviews

From Publishers' Weekly:

Dickens fans should devour British author Clark's debut novel, a gripping and richly atmospheric glimpse into the literal underworld of Victorian England-the labyrinthine London sewer system. When the "great stink" of the title-the product of an oppressive heat wave combined with putrid sewage overflow-threatens to shut down the British capital in 1855, the politicians agree to fund massive repairs. That immense public works project is a natural magnet for the corrupt, and engineer William May, a psychologically scarred Crimean War veteran, soon finds his ethics challenged. When he courageously decides not to rubber-stamp the use of inferior brick, he puts his life, his sanity and his family at risk. May's vague recollection of a murder he may have witnessed in the depths of the sewer system results in his becoming the prime suspect and being incarcerated in an asylum. That the mystery's eventual resolution depends a bit too much on a deus ex machina in no way detracts from Clark's considerable achievement in bringing her chosen slice of Victoriana to life. She shows every evidence of being a gifted and sensitive writer in the same league as such historical novelists as Charles Palliser. Agent, Clare Alexander (U.K.). (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Clarke's debut brings together two men in the dankly atmospheric tunnels of Victorian London. Recently returned from the Crimean front and suffering what would now be known as posttraumatic stress disorder, William May is newly employed as a surveyor on Joseph Bazalgette's great underground sewer project. Long Arm Tom, on the other hand, is a rougher sort who makes his living as a scavenger and rat catcher. As William grows increasingly manic, he neglects his home and family, finding his only comfort in work and the opportunity it provides him to descend into the tunnels and relieve a burning desire to cut his skin. One trip down leads him to witness a murder, which he eventually links to a profiteering scheme in awarding sewer contracts. Framed for the killing, he winds up first in a mental asylum and, later, in prison. His only hope of acquittal is an inexperienced lawyer and Long Arm Tom. If librarians can persuade readers to ignore the malodorous title and the even more unfortunate subject heading (sewerage-fiction), they may strongly recommend this confidently written page-turner.-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Kingston, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Question about returns, requests or other account details?
 Add a Comment
Submission Guidelines

Find this title in the Library Catalog
Find this title in the Library Catalog

more titles about

main characters William May
Crimean War veteran
Suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder; surveyor for an underground sewer project; neglects his home and family.

Known as Long Arm Tom; scavenger; rat catcher.

recent comments
hcl mobile app
Facebook Twitter Tumblr YouTube Vimeo Flickr Federal Depository Library Federal
Hennepin County Government Hennepin
© 2014  Hennepin County Library12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305 Comments and Feedback    |    RSS