Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Table of Contents: A Slight Trick of the Mind

Author: Mitch Cullin
Publisher/Year: Doubleday, 2005
Synopsis: It is 1947, and the long-retired Holmes, now 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse, where his memories and intellect begin to go adrift. He lives with a housekeeper and her young son, Roger, whose patient, respectful demeanor stirs paternal affection in Holmes. Holmes has settled into the routine of tending his apiary, writing in journals, and grappling with the diminishing powers of his razor-sharp mind, when Roger comes upon a case hitherto unknown. It is that of a Mrs. Keller, the long-ago object of Holmes's deep-and never acknowledged-infatuation.

As Mitch Cullin weaves together Holmes's hidden past, his poignant struggle to retain mental acuity, and his unlikely relationship with Roger, Holmes is transformed from the machine-like, mythic figure into an ordinary man, confronting and acquiescing to emotions he has resisted his entire life. This subtle and wise work is more than just a reimagining of a classic character. It is a profound meditation on faultiness of memory and how, as we grow older, the way we see the world is inevitably altered.

What Others Have To Say
The New York Times
"This is a novel about the fraying of reason under the stress of unanswerable emotional demands."

"...proceeds in a circling, unchronological manner that would have driven its subject mad with impatience, but so be it."

The Washington Post
"This is a lovely, tenderhearted book, full of reserve, good manners, elegance of feeling."

San Francisco Gate
"But taken as a whole, the novel lacks the tautness of a Conan Doyle mystery, and, deprived of a mystery around which to work, Sherlock Holmes is rendered even less real."

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