Confessing a Murder

Drayson, Nicholas. Confessing a Murder. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2002.

Reason read: June is the first month the weather is nice enough to be on the water. My father-in-law just put his boat in on the 2nd of June.

Confessing a Murder starts with a question, “It is sweet to name a thing, for is it not by naming that we gain possession?” (p 2).

In the style of nameless narration this is the story of a scientist, exiled from England. He has been stranded on an active volcanic island for three seasons, studying the flora and fauna of his entrapped environment. He knows time is running out and hints by stating things like, the mountain has “other plans.” He tells the story of how he got there interspersed with detailed descriptions of his discoveries on the island. Just this alone would make a fascinating story, but Drayson takes it a step further by included the fictionalized character of Charles Darwin as the unknown naturalist’s friend and companion, implying, and then later announcing, the theory of evolution was imposed upon Darwin by this friend. This is a story of blind love and deaf, dumb, and blind greed.

As an aside, I couldn’t get over the fantastical wildlife our nameless protagonist discovers. Birds that hibernate under water, vampire plants which suck the blood of birds. and many, many more.

The one quote I loved, “I do not know why we betray the things we love” (p 32). Hang onto this sentence because it will come back tenfold.

Author fact: In addition to Confessing a Murder Drayson wrote A Guide to the Birds of East Africa, which is also on my Challenge list.

Book trivia: Confessing a Murder is Drayson’s first novel.

Nancy said: Nancy said the components that make up Confessing a Murder are the perfect ingredients for a novel to enjoy, “and Drayson does it up beautifully” (p 167).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Oceana, or Miles of Isles” (p 164).



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