I’ve been trying to read The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl for the past few months, opening it in 15 minute breaks between classes on the rare days I didn’t have studying to in those short periods. And I liked it, perhaps if I had liked it more I would have neglected my work more often, but it was pretty good.
The plot surrounds 4 members of a club who gather to translate Dante into English. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet and translator of Dante, Oliver Wendall Holmes, the physician and poet, J.T. Fields the publisher, and James Russell Lowell the poet, all true people (as you may have noticed), gather on Wednesdays to discuss Dante’s work. However, murders in late 1800 Boston begin which mimic visions in Dante’s Inferno. And so they pause in their club and instead take it upon themselves to solve the crimes, because only they know Dante.
I liked that the characters were realy people, and I liked that it concerned a literary classic. I also liked the time period; I’m a fan of historical fiction. The novel was well-researched, and much of it rather interesting. But I only thought it was ok; however I’ll admit that I enjoy books much less while at school because I cannot give them the time they deserve. I wished certain parts did not drag out as they did, and I wished things came to a conclusion faster, but overall I liked it. I think those who enjoy this type of fiction will really enjoy the novel, as long as they have more time to devote to it.