The Underground Man

Jackson, Mick

9780140274370

ISBN 10: 0140274375 / 0-14-027437-5
ISBN 13: 9780140274370
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
Short-listed for the 1997 Booker Prize -- a haunting historical novel from an astonishing new British talent

Victorian England's most famous eccentric, the Duke of Portland was renowned for both his enormous wealth and for the elaborate series of tunnels he had built beneath his massive estate. The Duke, who is a fountain of nineteenth-century knowledge and curiosity, faithfully records in his journal the events that make up his days. His research extends into the fields of chiropractic medicine, and the study of auras, archaeology, and phrenology in a series of hilarious episodes that echo the New Age exploits of our own era while revealing the Duke to be a true naif: wonderfully humane, painfully shy, and untouched by the power his great wealth affords him.

As the Duke's enthusiasms gradually turn inward to the working of the mind and memory, he slowly slips into madness. The natural end of his journey of self-discovery gives The Underground Man its horrifying and unforgettable climax. A brilliant comic and tragic creation, Mick Jackson's Duke of Portland is one of the most memorable and heartbreaking characters to emerge from recent fiction.

"A marvelous study of human foibles". -- The New York Times Book Review

"Ingenious ... Jackson's portrait, through the Duke's eyes, of an age poised between credulity and science is shrewd and fascinating". -- Kirkus Reviews


Review:
Mick Jackson makes films. It's no surprise, then, that his first novel, The Underground Man, should be so economically told, the action evoking a mise en scène. The novel takes the form of journal entries interspersed with eyewitness accounts from servants and neighbours. The "Underground Man" portrayed in the novel, William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, the Duke of Portland and a resident of Nottinghamshire, is mightily eccentric; the man was real (1800-1879), as was his eccentricity. Historical fact: the Duke commissioned eight tunnels on his estate. Present-day fact: if you walk the estate today, you see the skylights--2ft in diameter and 4in thick. But why did he build them?

In the last few days of the Duke's life, eccentricity burgeons and madness follows. The reader learns that his odd view of the world was shaped by early tragedy, the full truth of which is withheld until the last few pages.

The Underground Man is that most delectable blend of fact and fiction, one in which the intriguing details of a real life are richly explored through imagination.

Review

Review:
"'Quite simply, astonishing.' Observer"

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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The Underground Man (ISBN: 0140274375 / 0-14-027437-5)
Jackson, Mick
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