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London
Edward Rutherfurd
Adult Fiction RUTHERF

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Like his aesthetic mentor, James Michener, Rutherfurd (Russka; Sarum) takes readers from primordial days to the present; here he focuses on the last 2000 years of humanity on the island kingdom as manifested through the fortunes of seven families and one ancient, ever-evolving city. Such chapter headings as "The Tower," "Hampton Court" and "The Globe" reveal Rutherfurd's primary technique‘to create verbal dioramas that, alas, too often feel as static and didactic as museum displays. Rutherfurd lavishes his greatest attention on the minor figures in English history rather than the greats. Instead of Shakespeare there is Edmund Meredith, playwright of the middling The Blackamoor; instead of Christopher Wren, there is a cowardly, anti-papist woodcarver; and there is Isaac Fleming, creator of the wedding cake. Due to the sheer scope of Rutherfurd's vision, many signal events, such as the Black Death, are afforded only a glancing nod, while the first and final chapters read more like a mannerly BBC documentary than a proper setup for a legend on a grand scale. Rutherfurd's workmanlike narrative ultimately buckles under the weight of its own vast scale, yet readers will savor individual tidbits like the snapshot of young Geoffrey Chaucer saving an abandoned baby. Readers with imagination may even come away with the sense that great cities aren't just places but living beings with hearts and souls. Major ad/promo; BOMC main selection; simultaneous Random House audio; author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

As evidenced by his previous historical novels, Russka (LJ 9/1/91) and Sarum (LJ 9/15/87), Rutherfurd does not flinch at a challenge. Wrap up 2000 years in an 800-page book? No problem. This all-encompassing fictional history of London is told through the experiences of a group of diverse families who, over the generations, meet, mingle, intermarry, and feud. Beginning with prehistory and continuing to the present, Rutherfurd combines geological details, historical events, real people, and his fictional characters to bring London to life. The writing veers from the mundane to the didactic, and readers would be well advised to list the characters as they encounter them. Rutherfurd's whirlwind historical tour is an appropriate purchase for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/97.]‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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