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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin 
17th-Jul-2006 08:05 pm
This month's bibliobibules selection.

(Random Bookdweebiness: The cover design of the hardcover edition is SO much more attractive than that of the trade paperback edition.)

Cullin, Mitch. A Slight Trick of the Mind. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2005.
Summary: Nearing the end of his life, the famous detective Sherlock Holmes comtemplates his beehives, his recent trip to postwar Japan, and the deaths of those closest to him.
Comments: Wowie. After reading Whompyjawed, I knew it would at least be good--but Cullin has progressed by leaps and bounds from his first novel and its Texas high school football. Blasting us back to the elegant and mannered prose and mores of a different culture and age (not to mention men who don't know when to shut up and women whose only redeeming virtue is beauty), is a true accomplishment...yet there is a gentle wistfulness and grace to the story that underplays its authorial ambition. The Sherlock Holmes character, as a veritable cultural icon, is treated with both great respect and humanity, and his Mrs. Keller narrative is a worthy addition to the Sherlock short story magnum opus. I was pleased to see that Cullin did not try to make Holmes gay or otherwise radically alter Arthur Conan Doyle's vision of the detective. He just aged him, and it was all 100% believable. Heck, MORE believable. Though not traditionally religious by nature, the novel is spiritual in its implication--that knowledge and what can be known by the senses are really just "a slight trick of the mind" and not wholly reliable, in spite of the famed detective's art of deduction, when explaining the mysteries of human beings and their universe. And, perhaps like Mrs. Keller, it's those unknowable things that, ultimately, we desire the most.
Notes: hardcover, 1st edition, 2nd printing
Rating: 7/10 - Cullin is likely one of the best literary fiction authors you've never heard of, and boy has he got it this time around! Not to be missed.
18th-Jul-2006 01:14 pm (UTC)
Strange, I prefer the subdued look of the other cover. then again, I don't like bugs that much.
18th-Jul-2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
I thought the paperback cover was irritating because the book's Holmes specifically says that he does not and never did smoke a pipe. ^^;
18th-Jul-2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
Oh! I guess nobody told the artist about that bit^_^
18th-Jul-2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
I thought the artists read the novel they were illustating first. :P
18th-Jul-2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
I've never heard any artist say that^^ Even the woman illustrating the HP books says she doesn't read it all. Just bits.
18th-Jul-2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
All of the artists I follow (okay, not that many ^^; ) who do fantasy books all said that they read the novels. Michael Whelan even commented that he put flowers in one of his Tanith Lee covers for a very specific reason that had to do with the story--but now he can't for the life of him remember what that reason was!
18th-Jul-2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
I bet the artist didn’t read it all, everyone knows Holmes! Even when they don’t ^^;; I like the bees though, bees are nice, make me honey ^__^
19th-Jul-2006 02:08 am (UTC)
Bees definitely frighten me less than wasps do--and we had plenty of both in Long Valley. (A lost, queenless colony of bees tried to start a hive in front of our garage one time. We called in beekeepers to take 'em away.)
1st-Aug-2006 04:29 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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