Shadowplay

Shadowplay

3.95 (73 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'A hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly - at times, astonishingly - a story of transience, loss and true loyalty' Guardian

1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.

Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager's devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.

This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 31mm | 536g
  • HARVILL SECKER
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1787300846
  • 9781787300842
  • 8,169

Review Text

"In gorgeous sentences, Joseph O’Connor captures the essence of three very different artistic temperaments in all their nobility and glorious absurdity"
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Review quote

"Dazzling...the panache and subtlety of his prose perfectly match that gusto and creative finesse of the High Victorian world his novel wonderfully evokes" * Sunday Times * "An ingenious novel... O'Connor's work is hugely impressive and utterly haunting" * Sunday Mirror * "Joseph O'Connor is a very great artist and storyteller. The quotient of enjoyment in his extraordinary new novel is stupendous" -- Sebastian Barry "A hugely entertaining book about the grand scope of friendship and love, it is also, movingly - at times, astonishingly - a story of transience, loss and true loyalty" * Guardian * "A work of Gothic splendour...O'Connor's writing is always intensely atmospheric. As a romp through Ripper-ravaged London, Shadowplay is mightily entertaining. But as a meditation on hidden sexuality, it is powerful and poignant" * Literary Review * "A fabulous novel that tells the otherwise largely unknown story of the man behind Gothic horror's most enduring character... The narrative stretches decades, and throbs with theatrical vigour. This is writing at its most immersive, full of Dickensian pulchritude and pathos. It should, and might well, win prizes" * i * "A rollicking tale... an affecting depiction of artistic and social emancipation... O'Connor's well-researched theatrical caper offers total immersion in a romantic, lost London... be nourished by a colourful tale of secret love and public performance" * The Times * "There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, with such sensual density, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O'Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph." -- Peter Carey, twice winner of the Booker Prize "Gorgeously dark... Shadowplay is an accomplished, compelling read" * Herald * "A hugely entertaining and atmospheric novel, one can almost smell the greasepaint" -- Deborah Moggach "A mesmerising read, meticulously researched, with beautiful prose...O'Connor has the gift of conjuring up any location....Wonderful suspense a la Wilkie Collins" * Sunday Independent * "Wonderful. The writing is beautiful." -- Derek Jacobi "One of the best writers working today" -- Alice Walker "One of Ireland's finest writers" -- John Boyne * Washington Post * "In gorgeous sentences, Joseph O'Connor captures the essence of three very different artistic temperaments in all their nobility and glorious absurdity" -- Jake Kerridge * Sunday Express *
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About Joseph O'Connor

Joseph O'Connor was born in Dublin. His books include eight previous novels: Cowboys and Indians (Whitbread Prize shortlist), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, Star of the Sea (American Library Association Award, Irish Post Award for Fiction, France's Prix Millepages, Italy's Premio Acerbi, Prix Madeleine Zepter for European novel of the year), Redemption Falls, Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book Novel 2011) and The Thrill of it All. His fiction has been translated into forty languages. He received the 2012 Irish PEN Award for outstanding achievement in literature and in 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.

www.josephoconnorauthor.com
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Rating details

73 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 36% (26)
4 38% (28)
3 16% (12)
2 5% (4)
1 4% (3)
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