Lord Byron's Novel
Lord Byron's Novel The Evening Land By Crowley, John Book - 2005

It was a dark and stormy night. Sitting around the fire in the rainy gloom of 1816, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her poet-boyfriend Percy Shelley, and their host told ghost stories to scare the bejeezus out of each other. Mary later became Mary Shelley and her ghost story became the legendary masterpiece Frankenstein. Shelley himself, we know, quickly gave up his ghost story to encourage his new wife to publish hers. Their host on that fateful night was none other than poet extraordinaire Lord Byron. He wrote a few hundred words about the mysterious death of an old man, and left it at that?or did he? Thus we reach the premise of John Crowley?s Lord Byron?s Novel: The Evening Land. We get to read this long-lost novel, painstakingly imagined by Crowley, as a mad, gothic story about the sensational life of one Ali Sane. It is accompanied by thoughtful footnotes from Byron?s daughter Ada, who, besides saving her estranged father?s manuscript from her scorned mother, was a brilliant mathematician in her own right. And finally, we read emails to and from Alexandra "Smith" Novak. Alexandra is researching Ada?s life for a website about women scientists, and she stumbles across a series of complex numerical columns that Ada wrote in the mid-19th century. To decode this mystery, Alexandra must turn to her own estranged father, who is also an expert Byron scholar. This circular plot pairs the romantic style of Lord Byron with modern communications and advanced math?no easy feat. But Crowley almost perfectly mimics Byron, and he breathes real life into the characters of Ada and Alexandra as they attempt to reconnect and recreate a vision of their lives that they never fully had. Rewriting an actual lost novel is one of the more intricate ways to incorporate a story within a story, but Crowley is well up to the challenge.

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