epub pdf Derby DayAuthor D.J. Taylor – Selindameditasyon.com

Ahhhh Victorian novels What don t I love about them Certainly not their size Those Victorians wrote some chubby books God bless them The time period, the plots, I love it all Every once in a while you find a contemporary writer who can produce a Victorian novel The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber come to mind Now add to that list Derby Day by D.J Taylor The heroes of Derby Day are author D.J Taylor for writi Ahhhh Victorian novels What don t I love about them Certainly not their size Those Victorians wrote some chubby books God bless them The time period, the plots, I love it all Every once in a while you find a contemporary writer who can produce a Victorian novel The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber come to mind Now add to that list Derby Day by D.J Taylor The heroes of Derby Day are author D.J Taylor for writing this novel and the novel s object of desire, a racehorse named Tiberius This horse will run in the coming Epsom Derby and all storylines race to that event The current owner of Tiberius, Mr Davenant is in financial trouble A Mr Happerton would love to take advantage of that situation and get a hold of Tiberius for himself Happerton marries the wealthy and desirable Rebecca to gain the capitol he needs to further his villainous plans Rebecca is smarter andproactive about her life than her husband suspects and that will cost him Circling these three are the prerequisite 287 addition characters all with tantalizing agendas of their own The amount of research involved in Derby Day shows on every page Each character behaves if not with the highest hoped for moral correctness of the period then at least in keeping with the period The food, the fabrics, the attitudes, all the incidentals of life in Victorian England are displayed with an everyday casualness that belies Derby Day having been written in the twenty first century The employment by the author of a slightly bemused, above it all narrator with knowledge of all builds an intimacy between the reader and the page that helps maintain that connection with the Victorian era Taylor s starting point for Derby Day was W.P Frith s wonderful, panoramic painting The Derby Day This painting was originally shown at the Royal Academy in 1858 You can see the allure for Taylor There is so much going on in the painting Every inch of the crowd tells a story and highlights a class situation.Amazingly every hope, every dastardly deed, every desperate prayer, the entire sprawl of the novel does come together at the Derby Derby Day could have been 500 pages of scattershot anecdotes and description but instead the brilliance of D.J Taylor has made this novel a masterpiece of showmanship and scholarship that completely entertains I enjoyed reading this but am not quite sure what to make of it It s billed as a Victorian mystery but didn t really seem to contain many elements of a mystery to me as it s a fairly straightforward story of misdoings in the horse racing world It s written in some kind of Victorian style which I don t know enough about to talk about I don t know whether it s a pastiche or satire or something else like that It s an entertaining enough story on the surface but I suspect I am missing the dep I enjoyed reading this but am not quite sure what to make of it It s billed as a Victorian mystery but didn t really seem to contain many elements of a mystery to me as it s a fairly straightforward story of misdoings in the horse racing world It s written in some kind of Victorian style which I don t know enough about to talk about I don t know whether it s a pastiche or satire or something else like that It s an entertaining enough story on the surface but I suspect I am missing the depths In short I think the author is probably quite clever but rather than showing me that I feel like he s made me feel quite stupid, which isn t really how I like to feel as a reader Although I liked the book on the whole I wouldn t be inclined to recommend it to others really The only mystery in this book despite the billing is why I read the whole quite lengthy thing The book is structured as if it were a complex puzzle, and you read it, accordingly, with extremely close attention to detail at the beginning, but eventually it becomes evident that there is no mystery to be solved and that the book s multitude of narratives won t come together, but will simply end All the characters are trite the rogue, the down on his luck scion of a good family, the roman The only mystery in this book despite the billing is why I read the whole quite lengthy thing The book is structured as if it were a complex puzzle, and you read it, accordingly, with extremely close attention to detail at the beginning, but eventually it becomes evident that there is no mystery to be solved and that the book s multitude of narratives won t come together, but will simply end All the characters are trite the rogue, the down on his luck scion of a good family, the romantic governess, the hardened criminal and none get real treatment to becomethan stock characters I think the novel was trying to say something about the position of women at that time through the character of Rebecca and at the beginning it is implied that she has some grand scheme in mind But plotwise there is no pay off there, and her motivations remain enigmatic and as a character she is too unlikeable the word horrible is frequently used to describe her to provide the center of gravity the novel needs Book remains a series of set pieces none too fresh, and rather lengthy instead of a mystery, or even just a gripping tale I had mixed feelings about this Booker nominated novel I was initially quite excited to read it Historical fiction set in the Victorian era with a mystery thrown in What s not to like And indeed, there s certainly something very mature and polished in Taylor s writing, with the style approximating late Victorian writing rather closely But the similes and metaphors that were at first so entertaining with their wittiness soon grew rather tiresome, as there is too much in the same style For e I had mixed feelings about this Booker nominated novel I was initially quite excited to read it Historical fiction set in the Victorian era with a mystery thrown in What s not to like And indeed, there s certainly something very mature and polished in Taylor s writing, with the style approximating late Victorian writing rather closely But the similes and metaphors that were at first so entertaining with their wittiness soon grew rather tiresome, as there is too much in the same style For example, the sentence The rain fell in torrents around him, driving into his face as he marched, but it could not be said that he noticed it is good and well in itself, but when the phrase it could not be said that is used a zillion times throughout the book, it loses its effect Another trick that Taylor overuses is the idea that nobody knew or only a certain someone knew but certainly not the reader, no no E.g Quite how long he had been there only Mr Happerton and the meek waitress knew Once, he quite spoils his own effect After saying that Mr Gresham s clerk allowed Mr Happerton into the office, but whether it was that he excelled in deferential small talk or merely hinted at sovereigns no one quite knew , a few pages later there is a comment on The old clerk, sitting in the ante room beyond with Mr Happerton s sovereign in this fist I thought nobody knew The plot is also not engaging There isn t much mystery after all, and no interesting twist to save the reader s impression at the end The plot has pretensions of being complex, but is actually not remarkable in any positive way The apparent complexity is due to the frequent shifting of viewpoints and relying on cheap tricks to create suspense, e.g a character opens a letter and reacts but the reader is not told what is in the letter Taylor also seems to switch between third person limited and omniscient perspectives rather haphazardly Mostly he seems to want to be able to refer directly to a character s thoughts, and seems to switch to omniscient just to be able to make his but nobody knew sort of statements Such switching at times results in contradictions like that of Mr Happerton s sovereign.There are some interesting sparks, but one wonders what their place in the novel is For example, there is a short description of a circus family The vignette of a boy who pretends to lose six pence so that he can give it to his mother instead of to his drunkard of a father gives a good snapshot of the Victorian period, but its vividness and lack of actual relevance to the novel serves only to distract It feels almost as if Taylor had this brilliant idea and did not want to waste it, and so insisted on including it in this novel And what s this nonsense about Captain Rook and Mr Pigeon, introduced towards the end of the novel to spice up the depiction of the race day The rest of the novel is written in a realistic style so the introduction of these farcical characters just feels jarring.Overall, there is the feeling that there is too much of the same for too long The pace is too slow, and there is very little to reward the reader for his perseverance It certainly could have been improved with a great dealediting As the shadows lengthen over the June grass, all England is heading for Epsom Downs high life and low life, society beauties and Whitechapel street girls, bookmakers and gypsies, hawkers and acrobats, punters and thieves Whole families stream along the Surrey back roads, towards the greatest race of the year Hopes are high, nerves are taut, hats are tossed in the air this is Derby DayFor months people have been waiting and plotting for this day Even in dark November, when the wind whistles through the foggy London courts, the alehouses and gentlemen s clubs echo to the sound of disputed odds In Belgrave Square old Mr Gresham is baffled by his tigerish daughter Rebecca, whose intentions he cannot fathom In the clubs of St James s rakish Mr Happerton plays billiards with his crony Captain Raff, while in darkest Lincolnshire sad Mr Davenant broods over his financial embarrassments and waits for his daughter s new governess Across the channel the veteran burglar Mr Pardew is packing his bags to return, to the consternation of the stalwart detective Captain McTurk Everywhere money jingles and plans are laid Uniting them all is the champion horse Tiberius, on whose performance half a dozen destinies dependIn this rich and exuberant novel, rife with the idioms of Victorian England, the mysteries pile high, propelling us towards the day of the great race, and we wait with bated breath as the story gallops to a finish that no one expects This book is written in a very fun and engaging way and you will most likely have a rollicking good time while reading it Having said that, I could not escape a feeling at the end that there was no there there Entertaining but ultimately I suspect forgettable But the ride is thoroughly enjoyable for as long as it lasts. Much better than his novels set in the present, since the faux Victorian style suits Taylor s blithely condescending sensibility But saying a character is like Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair to save on characterisation Lazy. This is a skilful and subtly ironic re working of a Victorian novel The main difference is that the plot, centring round the betting and speculation on horses leading up to the Epsom Derby is tightly controlled with very few digressions, except where the author wants to set the scene especially that of Derby Day itself, which uses the panoramic painting by Frith for inspiration There are obvious and intentional echoes of Dickens and other Victorian novelists in the characters and description This is a skilful and subtly ironic re working of a Victorian novel The main difference is that the plot, centring round the betting and speculation on horses leading up to the Epsom Derby is tightly controlled with very few digressions, except where the author wants to set the scene especially that of Derby Day itself, which uses the panoramic painting by Frith for inspiration There are obvious and intentional echoes of Dickens and other Victorian novelists in the characters and descriptions Two obvious examples are the debt owed to Chesney Wold and the Deadlocks for the description of Mr Davenant s family home in damp rural Lincolnshire with its ghostly and tragic atmosphere and another is the calculating sandy haired and green eyed Rebecca Gresham who shares her name and character with Thackeray s anti heroine I liked the use of these borrowings as I felt it gave the book colour and substance It was an absorbing read definitely not a Dickens but perhaps a minor Thackeray Surely we are living in a new Silver Age of the Victorian sensational novel, and long may it continue There have been many superlative entries in this happily revived genre the works of Caleb Carr, Sarah Waters, Michael Cox and Clare Clark come to mind but D J Taylor seems to have set the gold standard with Derby Day Part mystery, part crime novel and utterly a suspense thriller, it owes much to its many Victorian models the works of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, the Bronte sisters, Mrs Surely we are living in a new Silver Age of the Victorian sensational novel, and long may it continue There have been many superlative entries in this happily revived genre the works of Caleb Carr, Sarah Waters, Michael Cox and Clare Clark come to mind but D J Taylor seems to have set the gold standard with Derby Day Part mystery, part crime novel and utterly a suspense thriller, it owes much to its many Victorian models the works of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, the Bronte sisters, Mrs Oliphant, Charles Reade and, most especially, the hauntingly social journalism of Henry Mayhew but is farthan just a clever pastiche of its literary ancestors Author Taylor is as steeped in fascinating Victoriana as any author I ve ever read, and both Derby Day and its linked predecessor, Kept, fall into that narrow and sanctified category of books you wished would never end And it only gets five stars because I couldn t give it six Having finished Derby Day, I can say that it s a solid detective story in the vein of Dickens, with a cast of dozens of colorful British charactersa governess, a spurned blue stocking wife, a sporting man who s a cad, old lawyers, canny housemaids, etc The writing was engaging enough that I did not mind learning how about horse racing, a subject that did not greatly interest me before Will try to find other books by this writer. Derby Day


About the Author: D.J. Taylor

David John Taylor born 1960 is a critic, novelist and biographer After attending school in Norwich, he read Modern History at St John s College, Oxford, and has received the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award for his life of George Orwell He lives in Norwich and contributes to The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman and The Spectator among other publications.He is married to the novelist Rachel Hore, and together they have three sons.


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