SYNOPSIS: In his third book of The American Novels series, Norman Lock recounts the story of a young Philadelphian, Edward Fenzil, who, in the winter of 1844, falls under the sway of two luminaries of the nineteenth-century grotesque imagination: Thomas Dent Mütter, a surgeon and collector of medical “curiosities,” and Edgar Allan Poe. As Fenzil struggles against the powerful wills that would usurp his identity, including that of his own malevolent doppelgänger, he loses his mind and his story to another.
GENRE: Historical Fiction
RATING: ★★★★☆/ 4.5 mesmerizing stars.
REVIEW: This book just reminded me why I love reading. It was a completely unexpected story with language that speaks to the greats and rhythm that speaks to the soul.
The entire book is essentially a monologue. In fact, as I was reading it, I started staging it in my mind. I could see the aged thespian on stage, speaking to the audience as if we were the unheard recipient of Fenzil's tale. It was magnetic. The cadence was perfect. The story builds slowly and you soon lose yourself in the book. I didn't want to put it down and break the spell that the words had woven. Therefore, I let myself be captured and read till the book came to a perfect end.
Now if you're imagining or expecting a new age mimic of Edgar Allan Poe, then you would be disappointed or more accurately, you're wrong to make the comparison in the first place. Because, while The Port-Wine Stain features Poe and has a dark Gothic undertone, it never endeavored to be a Poe-like tale. It is it's own book with it's own writer and deserves to be read without that preconception. That being said, I do think that it would appeal to Poe fans, as well those who love to discover great literature.