The Great Stink
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The Great Stink

3.51 (1,222 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Clare Clark's critically acclaimed The Great Stink "reeks of talent" (The Washington Post Book World) as it vividly brings to life the dark and mysterious underworld of Victorian London. Set in 1855, it tells the story of William May, an engineer who has returned home to London from the horrors of the Crimean War. When he secures a job trans-forming the city's sewer system, he believes that he will be able to find salvation in the subterranean world beneath the city. But the peace of the tunnels is shattered by a murder, and William is implicated as the killer. Could he truly have committed the crime? How will he bring the truth above-ground? With richly atmospheric prose, The Great Stink combines fact and fiction to transport readers into London's putrid past, and marks the debut of a remarkably talented writer in the tradition of the very best historical novelists.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 356 pages
  • 135 x 205 x 30mm | 349.27g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0156030888
  • 9780156030885
  • 1,593,575

Flap copy

It is 1855, and engineer William May has returned home to London and his beloved wife from the horrors of the Crimean War. When he secures a job transforming the city's sewer system, he believes it will prove his salvation, as, in the subterranean world beneath the city, he begins to lay his ghosts to rest. But when the peace of the tunnels is shattered by a violent murder William loses his tenuous hold on his sanity. Implicated in the crime, plagued by nightmares and visions, he is no longer sure: Could he truly have committed it?
Long Arm Tom is a tosher who scavenges for anything of value in the old sewers, always accompanied by his beloved dog Lady. It is this business that brings him into contact with "The Captain," a wealthy businessman with a weakness for gambling who asks Tom to use his knowledge of London's underworld for an even less savory purpose. But Tom is also William's only hope of salvation. Will he help William bring the truth aboveground?
With richly atmospheric prose of almost visceral power, The Great Stink transports us behind (and below) the glittering facades of Victorian England. Seamlessly combining fact with fiction, it marks the debut of an outstandingly talented writer in the tradition of the very best of historical novelists.
"
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Back cover copy

"[Clark] keeps the suspense high . . . [in this] captivating historical thriller."--People (4 stars)
It is 1855, and engineer William May has returned home to London and his beloved wife from the horrors of the Crimean War. When he secures a job transforming the city s sewer system, he believes that he will be able to find salvation in the subterranean world beneath the city. But the peace of the tunnels is shattered by a murder, and William is implicated as the killer. Could he truly have committed the crime? How will he bring the truth above-ground?
"In rich Dickensian detail, Clark creates the whole city teeming with life and decay, but she keeps the focus on a few fascinating characters in desperate straits . . . it's a rich work of history and a gripping exploration of the unmentionable currents that run beneath the surface of our lives--and it reeks of talent."--Washington Post Book World
"Who knew that drainage could be so captivating? And, more to the point, that excrement could be so, well, lyrically malleable? The Great Stink is a trove of olfactory poetry . . . The Great Stink is a crackerjack historical novel that combines the creepy intrigue of Caleb Carr, the sensory overload of Peter Ackroyd and the academic curiosity of A.S. Byatt."--Los Angeles Times

CLARE CLARK was born in London in 1967. A Senior Scholar at Trinity College Cambridge, she graduated with a Double First in History. THE GREAT STINK, her first novel, won the Quality Paperback Book Club s New Voices Fiction Award. She is married with two children and lives in London.
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Review quote

PRAISE FOR THE GREAT STINK

"Clark's triumph is that she makes us see and smell everything we politely pretend not to, and she even manages to give the miasma its own kind of beauty . . . The book is literally breathtaking."--The New York Times Book Review

"The Great Stink is a trove of olfactory poetry . . . a crackerjack historical novel that combines the creepy intrigue of Caleb Carr, the sensory overload of Peter Ackroyd and the academic curiosity of A. S. Byatt."--Los Angeles Times
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Rating details

1,222 ratings
3.51 out of 5 stars
5 17% (202)
4 36% (444)
3 33% (403)
2 10% (122)
1 4% (51)
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