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The Unburied (1999)

de Charles Palliser

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MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,0602219,748 (3.54)41
In Victorian England, Dr. Courtine is invited to spend the days before Christmas with Austin, a friend from his youth, in the Cathedral Close of Thurchester. Courtine hopes to research an unsolved mystery at the cathedral library, but when Austin captivates him with the story of the town ghost -- a macabre tale of murder and deception dating back two centuries -- Courtine finds himself drawn instead into a haunting world of avarice, skullduggery, and exceptional evil. Daring, unpredictable, atmospheric, "The Unburied" is a dazzling entry in the canon of classic Victorian masterpieces of suspense.… (més)
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» Mira també 41 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 22 (següent | mostra-les totes)
If you like your horror with a healthy side of jump-scares, The Unburied definitely isn’t for you. But if you enjoy slowly unfolding tales of eerie disquiet and intellectual suspense, you’ve come to the right place.

This tasty Victorian-gothic-murder mystery is a deft mashup of Sheridan Le Fanu by way of Wilkie Collins with an infusion of Matthew Lewis’s The Monk and a pinch of Umberto Eco for extra zing. Think naïve Victorian narrator, creepy Cathedral town, a religious community harboring dark secrets, a historical mystery that becomes entangled with a current murder investigation, enigmatic medieval documents, frightening fairy tales, rotting corpses, lust, greed, perversion, revenge, and perhaps a ghost or two, all folded into an elaborate confection by a skilled storyteller … now set aside about 6hrs of your life and hunker down to enjoy this engrossing tale.

I invoke the work “intellectual” deliberately, because Palliser doesn’t believe in coddling his readers. To fully enjoy the pleasures on offer, you’re going to need to be attentive enough to spot the numerous clues that Palliser peppers throughout the narrative, patient enough to keep track of dozens of narratives, many of them teasingly unreliable, and intelligent enough to appreciate the craft of the meticulously clever reveal that begins about 4/5ths of the way through the book and continues right up until the last paragraph of the last page.

Just like Collin’s The Moonstone or Lewis’s The Monk, there are stories within stories here, but they all explore a common theme – in this case, to what extent are stories shaped by the self-interest and prejudices of the people who tell them, and is it ever possible to be sure of the truth? Much of the fun of this tale is realizing the extent to which reason and logic can be insufficient - even untrustworthy - when it comes to trying to dealing with elemental forces like love and hate, truth and untruth, good and evil. ( )
  Dorritt | Jul 11, 2023 |
Esta novela introduce al lector en un mundo en sombras a traves de una fascinante galeria de personajes y acontecimientos que le llevan a diferentes etapas de la historia, siempre en busca de la resolucion de un secreto. Y es precisamente la pluralidad de incognitas y la estremecedora recreacion de ambientes muy dispares lo que confiere a esta obra un extraordinario grado de suspense.
  Natt90 | Mar 27, 2023 |
Does “The Unburied” really deserve five stars? I’m not sure, but for me this was a case of the “right book at the right time”, the novel I really needed. I received it in the run-up to Christmas, just as I was starting to tune in to carol broadcasts and to get out my choral CDs, whilst secretly wishing that my Mediterranean December would turn a tad foggier, colder and, generally, more “Northern”. And here was this atmospheric Gothic novel, set in a late 19th century English cathedral city in the days before Christmas.

It is difficult to give a comprehensible overview of the novel’s convoluted plot without giving any of the twists away, but I’ll try. The main body of the book consists of an account by one Dr Courtine, a Cambridge historian who is invited to spend part of the festive season in Thurchester with Austin Fickling, an old college friend. Courtine and Fickling had become estranged, and Courtine eagerly accepts the invitation, seeing it as an opportunity to heal old wounds. He also is keen on spending time in the Cathedral library where he hopes to find an ancient manuscript which could shed light on a problematic episode regarding the reign of Alfred the Great. Once in Thurchester, however, Courtine becomes obsessed with two other historical, albeit more recent, mysteries – the 17th century murder of Cathedral Treasurer William Burgoyne (and the subsequent disappearance of prime suspect Mason John Gambrill) and the killing of Dean Freeth, ostensibly for political reasons but possibly for darker motives. Like the sleepy but deadly villages in “The Midsomer Murders”, Thurchester seems to be a veritable hotbed of criminality and intrigue. Before long, in fact, Courtine is embroiled in contemporary mysteries as well – chief amongst which is the puzzling behaviour of Fickling who, having invited Courtine to his house, now comes across as an increasingly reluctant and grumpy host. The evil which lurks in the historic city clearly goes beyond the petty "church politics" of the Cathedral canons.

In style, “The Unburied” is a veritable mash-up of Victorian genre fiction – the Gothic, the “English” ghost story, crime and sensation fiction are all thrown into the mix. It is rather as if Sheridan Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins teamed up to write a novel, with some help from M.R. James and (!) Anthony Trollope. In the initial chapters, the Gothic has the upper hand, as Courtine travels to a solitary, foggy train station and arrives at Fickling’s dark, creaky house; as the Cathedral (quite literally) throws up its dead and cloaked ghosts appear in the night. The novel’s debt towards the Gothic is also evident in its concern with old manuscripts and journals, unreliable narratives and multiple viewpoints.

Eventually, as secrets are slowly revealed – more tantalisingly than in a burlesque show – the sensation and crime novel elements come into play. The ending more or less manages to tie up all the loose ends (too tidily, perhaps?) - it is ingenious and satisfying and, considering the premises of the novel, does not unduly test the limits of our belief.

Like a glass of hot punch, “The Unburied” is a real delight – a seasonal one, perhaps, but a delight nonetheless.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2018/12/christmas-gothic-charles-pallisers.ht... ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Feb 21, 2023 |
I found this a completely muddled mess that dragged on and on. There was a manuscript mystery, two historical and one current murder, and some past love triangle or not plus a maze of characters and the usual jumble of people associated with an English Cathedral that I never bother to keep track of. Way too many characters and the various plots never really held together and the forward and afterword didn't help much. I was completely disinterested by the time the final reveal came along so any shock was more of a eh.
  amyem58 | Nov 11, 2022 |
Does “The Unburied” really deserve five stars? I’m not sure, but for me this was a case of the “right book at the right time”, the novel I really needed. I received it in the run-up to Christmas, just as I was starting to tune in to carol broadcasts and to get out my choral CDs, whilst secretly wishing that my Mediterranean December would turn a tad foggier, colder and, generally, more “Northern”. And here was this atmospheric Gothic novel, set in a late 19th century English cathedral city in the days before Christmas.

It is difficult to give a comprehensible overview of the novel’s convoluted plot without giving any of the twists away, but I’ll try. The main body of the book consists of an account by one Dr Courtine, a Cambridge historian who is invited to spend part of the festive season in Thurchester with Austin Fickling, an old college friend. Courtine and Fickling had become estranged, and Courtine eagerly accepts the invitation, seeing it as an opportunity to heal old wounds. He also is keen on spending time in the Cathedral library where he hopes to find an ancient manuscript which could shed light on a problematic episode regarding the reign of Alfred the Great. Once in Thurchester, however, Courtine becomes obsessed with two other historical, albeit more recent, mysteries – the 17th century murder of Cathedral Treasurer William Burgoyne (and the subsequent disappearance of prime suspect Mason John Gambrill) and the killing of Dean Freeth, ostensibly for political reasons but possible for darker motives. Like the sleepy but deadly villages in “The Midsomer Murders”, Thurchester seems to be a veritable hotbed of criminality and intrigue. Before long, in fact, Courtine is embroiled in contemporary mysteries as well – chief amongst which is the puzzling behaviour of Fickling who, having invited Courtine to his house, now comes across as an increasingly reluctant and grumpy host. The evil which lurks in the historic city clearly goes beyond the petty "church politics" of the Cathedral canons.

In style, “The Unburied” is a veritable mash-up of Victorian genre fiction – the Gothic, the “English” ghost story, crime and sensation fiction are all thrown into the mix. It is rather as if Sheridan Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins teamed up to write a novel, with some help from M.R. James and (!) Anthony Trollope. In the initial chapters, the Gothic has the upper hand, as Courtine travels to a solitary, foggy train station and arrives at Fickling’s dark, creaky house; as the Cathedral (quite literally) throws up its dead and cloaked ghosts appear in the night. The novel’s debt towards the Gothic is also evident in its concern with old manuscripts and journals, unreliable narratives and multiple viewpoints.

Eventually, as secrets are slowly revealed – more tantalisingly than in a burlesque show – the sensation and crime novel elements come into play. The ending more or less manages to tie up all the loose ends (too tidily, perhaps?) - it is ingenious and satisfying and, considering the premises of the novel, does not unduly test the limits of our belief.

Like a glass of hot punch, “The Unburied” is a real delight – a seasonal one, perhaps, but a delight nonetheless. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Jan 1, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Palliser, Charlesautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Mulder, ArjenTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Post, MaaikeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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While my memory is fresh I am going to describe exactly what I saw and heard on the occasion, less than a week past, when I encountered a man who was walking about just like you and me - despite the inconvenience of having been brutally done to death.
Few books in recent times have created as much controversy as 'The Thurchester Mystery' when it was published three years ago.
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In Victorian England, Dr. Courtine is invited to spend the days before Christmas with Austin, a friend from his youth, in the Cathedral Close of Thurchester. Courtine hopes to research an unsolved mystery at the cathedral library, but when Austin captivates him with the story of the town ghost -- a macabre tale of murder and deception dating back two centuries -- Courtine finds himself drawn instead into a haunting world of avarice, skullduggery, and exceptional evil. Daring, unpredictable, atmospheric, "The Unburied" is a dazzling entry in the canon of classic Victorian masterpieces of suspense.

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