|July 19, 2016||Posted by admin under Fiction, Poetry|
Written by Paul Bowdring
Published by Vagrant Press
Distributed by Nimbus Publishing
Reviewed by Andrea Scott
Publication Date: April 2016
It is very hard for me to write a review of Mister Nightingale because I did not really enjoy the book. However, that does not mean it is a bad book. The book is quite well written but the story just did not appeal to me. I did receive an advanced reading copy from the Publisher so it is possible that the final draft of the book would appeal to me more.
I was interested in reading this book as I always love an opportunity to read a book set in St. John’s and that was one thing I actually really liked about the book. I loved being able to see in my mind the exact part of the city being described. I also liked that Mistaken Point was mentioned in the book – for two reasons: (1) I grew up in a small town very near Mistaken Point; and (2) Mistaken Point is in the news this week having been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.
I have thought a lot about why I didn’t like this book and I think it comes down to two things. The first is that there were too many literary references for me. References to literature and authors that were unknown and, quite frankly, uninteresting to me. While I am a big reader I have not read the classics and most if not all these references were lost on me. I found it to be too much, in fact, and perhaps in the final edition of the book there will be fewer. The second thing that affected my enjoyment of the book was the character of Nightingale. He is a writer (which explains the frequent literary references) and all his friends are struggling artists (a poet and an actor specifically). I have read a few books with writers as main characters and usually do not find them overly interesting. I was not overly invested in James Nightingale as a character.
I found the best chapters were the ones in which Nightingale was with his family. There are a couple of great chapters about his father and I liked the excursion he went on with his sister and her family. I would have liked more of that and less of the rest. This book felt like a book written for writers. So while I did not enjoy it, I think there are likely many people who would like it.
For more information about this book or to learn how to get your very own copy, visit the publisher’s website here.