Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Mr Timothy

Louis Bayard's Mr Timothy rejoins Dickens's Tiny Tim when he is an adult. Timothy is something of a lost soul, drifting through the days waiting for the happy part of 'happily ever after' to kick in. Dickens didn't conclude 'A Christmas Carol' with that phrase but it was certainly implied. In this book the majority of the Cratchits are either dead or scattered, no longer a family but instead a remnant of one. Scrooge goes on though, locked forever in his embodiment of the spirit of Christmas generosity. It is this continuing generosity that has so stagnated Mr Timothy's attempts to rise above supporting character status and make a life worthy of a leading character. Bayard never really comes close to emulating Dickens's style further than populating the first person narrative with a host of very Dickensian eccentric caricatures; the cat-haunted crusty sailor, the brothel madame, the scatological licorice proffering detective, the philosophical cab driver and the singing adventurous street urchin. It's a pretty enjoyable read with a very dark mystery at its core and if Bayard doesn't quite nail-on the Victorian setting it is still a very admirable effort.

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