November 5, 2007

never hoped for more affection

Posted in books tagged , at 11:07 pm by placeinthestars

The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips

I kind of enjoyed this, even though I think all of the characters are pretty awful (well, they range from mildly awful to terribly awful), except for Howard Carter, who is only around tangentially. The book is funny, smart, well-written, and full of unreliable narrators who are so caught up in their own lies that sometimes they think they’re actually telling the truth. I recommend it, though I will probably not keep it.

However, I was reading the reader’s guide questions and the last set of questions took me aback. Are there people reading who didn’t know from the get-go that Trilipush was really Paul Caldwell and that he was a big giant lying lieface and faker of antiquities? I’ll admit, I thought he’d be Marlowe’s lover instead of just his unwanted pupil, but come on! It was telegraphed from the beginning, so I’m kind of shocked they even felt the need to put that question in there. (the question: Were you surprised by the ending of The Egyptologist? How does the tone of the novel change in the final scenes? How does your perception of Trilipush and what he has achieved change?) Do they think we’re stupid? Wait, don’t answer that.

Anyway, it was kind of a fun, tricksy read, and well-written, even if none of the characters are really likable.

***

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