Gouda Buddha Books

Devouring books since 2009.

The Dante Club

with 7 comments

danteclub1 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.


Written by questionsandanchors

January 7, 2009 at 10:36 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Oh wow. This looks totally awesome. I’m a sucker for “while translating a manuscript…” mysteries.

    And yet, I’ve managed to avoid reading the Da Vinci Code. Score one for me, or something.


    January 8, 2009 at 2:17 am

  2. Yeah, I think this book might have gotten lost in the middle of the Da Vinci Code hubbub. I definitely read it, and Angels & Demons, and man, if you think Da Vinci Code sounds awful, NEVER read the latter. It’s even more fantastical than Da Vinci, AND there’s a movie of that one coming out too. I literally started moaning in the theater “NONONONO” when they were playing the trailer.


    January 8, 2009 at 3:02 am

  3. Have you read “The Book of Air and Shadows” ? It’s another in this genre, and it has to do with Shakespeare. Gotta love that.


    January 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

  4. Here’s a few teasers about Matthew’s second book.


    Clayton Moore

    January 8, 2009 at 10:30 pm

  5. Oooh, thanks, Clay.


    January 10, 2009 at 9:45 pm

  6. Help spread the word–Matthew Pearl served noticed with The Dante’s Club, moved way up with The Poe Shadow, and with The Last Dickens he confirms his status as a master craftsman and artisan. There’s no such thing in writing novels as a perfect 10, yet, but the Last Dickens is 9.99 No bunk

    Ed Mack

    March 6, 2009 at 6:39 pm

  7. Matthew Pearl’s latest book The Last Dickens one of the great American writers

    Ed Mack

    March 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm

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