29 April 2013

TLC BOOK TOUR: Jenny Davidson, The Magic Circle

This review is for TLC BOOK tours.  Please visit the other blogs on the tour HERE.


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Jenny Davidson's book has garnered comparisons to the excellent Donna Tartt book, The Secret History.  The premise of the book is that three Columbia graduate and post-graduate students, working on game theory, get involved in creating a live-action role playing game (LARP), based on The Bacchae.  The motivation for the comparisons to Tartt is clear, but the book didn't live up to them for me.

The first half of the book is slow, and a lot of the set up seems unnecessarily detailed in places, while glossing over other plot points.  Also, the language seems unnatural and pretentious at times, especially in dialogue, and the academic voice really only works in some of the more reflective prose.  The second half of the book picks up and becomes much more readable, and Davidson does do some interesting things with narrative in this section, which is told by the character Lucy, in the form of a police deposition.  The end of the book is hasty, and there are many plot reveals in short succession without the care that is given to some seemingly insignificant details earlier in the narrative.

Overall, the book didn't work for me, although parts of it were almost there.  I recommend it for people that are seriously interested in a literary representation of game theory.

Title: The Magic Circle
Author: Jenny Davidson
Publisher: Houghton MIfflin Harcourt
Date: 2013
 Genre:Literary Fiction, Thriller

191  pages.
Where I got it: From the publisher and TLC BOOK TOURS

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