LempriĆ©re’s Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk

January 2014

I first read this book years and years and years ago and remembered really enjoying it, so I decided to revisit it. This was a mistake. There are some fun ideas in here, and I can kind of see what Norfolk is trying to do with the whole strange literary/historical/fantastical thing, but this book is a total mess. The tone veers wildly from florid pretentiousness to casual jokiness, the characters are all over the place, the plot is all over place, and all the things I remembered loving about the book the first time around (automata! creepy unexplained spirit things! dictionaries!) are actually just lost in the chaos of everything else. I should have left well enough alone.

Further reading…