Monday, 6 May 2013

Nightmare Abbey, Thomas Love Peacock

Why I read it: Western Canon

Podcasts: None

Brow: Middle to Upper, depending how many of the references you get.

Summary: This is the book about nothing. If Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George had been a bunch of unlikeable narcissistic Romantic poets instead of unlikeable narcissistic New Yorkers, they would have fit right in. Sir Christopher Glowry and his son Scythorpe spend most of the plot either sitting in their dining room or sitting in their living room having absurd conversations with their friends about various Gothic tropes: suicide, ghosts, regeneration and secret societies. There's also a subplot about Scythorpe being in love with two women and having to hide one in the closet, then getting dumped by both. Your basic-cable sitcom, but written in the 19th century.

What I liked about it: I'm a sucker for satire and the Romantics are ripe for it. It's also really fun to see how many of the references you get, à la The Simpsons.

What I didn't like about it: Alas, it's an epic failure of the Bechdel Test.

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