The Dante Club
Unlike my previous “faux mystery,” The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl is the real deal, and perfect for all those English majors out there who like to be terrified while reading about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and James Lowell yelling at each other.
Longsfellow is translating Dante’s Inferno into English with the help of a few of his friends who have dubbed themselves “The Dante Club,” while at the same time Harvard’s head honchos and others in town are determined to stop in integration of Dante into Harvard’s curriculum, as well as American culture.
While these self-important Harvard men are battling over religion and hell, murders start taking place, which one of the Dante Club members notes are eerily similar to the punishments being described in Dante’s hell. Creepy, eh? AND THIS IS WHY CENSORSHIP IS BAD: IT DISTRACTS YOU FROM THE REALLY SCARY THINGS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
Anyway, that’s when I was hooked (as for the first 80 pages, I was having trouble forging on), and shiver I did over the grisly murders that followed, which were a bit to easy to imagine as I just went to Boston to visit Sonika a few months ago. Yet I could not stop reading this book, no matter how many times I had to put it down and double check to see if our doors were locked.
I’ll definitely be reading Pearl’s follow-up book, The Poe Shadow, and rereading Dante to boot, but not until I get some of those images out of my mind.